Alchemy in the UK at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

Forty Years On at Chichester Festival Theatre SUS-170217-095019001

REVIEW: Forty Years On at Chichester Festival Theatre

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Southampton-based Maggie Nevill’s latest play is bang up-to-the-moment.

References to coalition and credit-crunch set this play in the here-and-now – but it resonates, too, with the misery of the early 1980s, when the rich were rich and the poor were poorer. The parallel is nicely drawn and affects all five protagonists.

The play examines the nature of father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife relationships as well as the agony and impotence associated with redundancy (of all sorts) and its effects.

Nevill’s tone is often bitter and the language strong – but her subject matter demands it. These people are full to overflowing with fear, handling it as best they can – but with no final emotional resolution to the play ending, as it does, with the beginning of another chapter of uncertainty for two of the characters.

The cast handle the text well – with particular honours going to John Bowler (Brian) and Geoffrey Freshwater (Jack).

Paul Wyett as 1980s rebel and art-student Kelloggs seems, at times, forced in his anger, but convinces in his quieter moments. Eleanor Yates is fresh and funny as Tiff and Julia Righton wonderfully frustrated as Clair – and giving a cheeky Anne Robinson impersonation too.

Until October 29.

JAMES GEORGE

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