Richmond Theatre is currently hosting a very enjoyable hour and a half long play (with no interval) called “An Hour An A Half Late” with Griff Rhys Jones and Janie Dee. The set is a rather glamorous sitting room somewhere in London owned by Peter and his wife Laura who are due to go out for dinner.
The scene opens with Peter patiently waiting for Laura to get ready to go to his friend and business colleague’s house for supper. He is due to sign a lucrative deal and it’s important to him, as he explains when Laura unexpectedly announces that she doesn’t want to go. The set doesn’t change and they are the only two actors in the play.
She is having a minor crisis about life and suddenly can’t quite see the point of anything anymore. Their last child has finally fled the nest and she feels useless, old and redundant. Well I could certainly relate to that….but she clearly has a more forgiving partner in Peter than anyone else I know and so instead of saying “fine, f*ck it, I’ll go without you” he embraces her drama and allows the evening to unfold, all the while gently pleading with her to reconsider her decision.
Their comic timing is impeccable as they meander through their evening, a funny portrait of a couple who embark on an outpouring of emotions. There are many home truths about life and love, her regret at not carrying on with her career instead of raising the kids. It’s a witty play with many modern lines written by Gerald Sibleyras with Jean Dell and is adapted and directed by Belinda Lang.
Peter tries to reassure Laura that now their three children have flown the nest, life can begin again as he is on the verge of retirement – another issue for her. “Just enjoy the freedom, join a bridge club….or lay on the sofa and wait for death,” he tells her. “Death is all I’ve got left to look forward to now” she moans. She then changes into her artist’s attire and they start eating and drinking and playing around, all the while discussing perceived past affairs and how to manage the next stage of life and whether separate bedrooms is the answer.
Go and see it to find out.
Most enjoyable and very finely acted.