REVIEW: What Ivy Wanted, The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant

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Penned by their own Jacquie Penrose, What Ivy Wanted was a Bench Theatre Fringe production at The Spring on a ‘one night only’ basis.

It is planned, however, to bring it back at some point, and I would suggest grabbing a ticket if you can.

The Bench has always striven to go beyond the product of the usual local theatre company and this show is proof positive of its success.

Three friends – one recently bereaved – are having a break at a Center Parcs-style resort when the arrival of a former work colleague throws a spanner in the ostensibly happy proceedings and reopens old wounds.

The somewhat sombre plot belies an entertaining and funny evening with Bench stalwarts David Penrose, Ingrid Corrigan, Sally Hartley and Peter Woodward all on good form.

Penrose’s dialogue and, indeed, the tone of the whole piece, is Ayckbourn-esque: one laughs at the suffering of the protagonists, while cringing at the situation they find themselves in.

The direction is sparse, but positively so, with action giving graceful way to the words and the situation.