One for the Road
Venue : Redditch Palace Theatre
Date : April 1995
Genre : Comedy
Assistant Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Ambitious Dennis at crisis point...
WYTHALL Theatre Company had a crack at a Willy Russell four-hander at the Palace Theatre, Redditch - and very entertaining it was too.
The Scouse bard's look at one man's mid-life crisis, in One For The Road, tickled a sparse first-night audience, and probably prompted a thought or two among them.
Russell's bittersweet play shows us Dennis (newcomer Adam Lee) awaiting a visit from his parents on a modern estate where all the roads are named after composers.
The old folk don't look like making it; they're involved in a doomed circumnavigation of a hideously conceived new town, stopping only to take in telephone instructions from their exasperated son. ('When you, get out of Wagner underpass turn left into Sibelius Avenue").
Dennis's other guests do turn up - Sue Lister's gloriously pretentious Jane and her husband, happy-go-lucky philanderer Roger effectively realised by Paul Hughes, another Wythall freshman.
During a chaotic evening's enter-taining, Dennis dreams of taking his place on the great slip-road of life and hitching into the distance. Wife Pauline has other plans - not quite the ones you'd expect though, and Jane's and Roger's response to Dennis's scheme nearly puts the lid on it.
One For The Road benefited from deft playing by all concerned - so important in a comedy which has elements of farce and demonstrated the potential of novice director Tony Lacey.
David Whipp, Bromsgrove Advertiser
Play's slow start pays off...
TONY Lacey's production comes into its own in the second half of Willie Russell's story of a man at odds with housing estate life.
Earlier, despite the full-blooded arrival of Sue Lister (Jane), it seems to be struggling to establish itself.
Adam Lee, in the central role, would be funnier if he were more insistently deadpan. His comments on Spam fritters, the United Nations and the Nazi Party, for instance, would benefit from a po-faced delivery.
This is, nevertheless, a confident performance which hits a chucklesome peak with his account of Tupperware Man.
Paul Hughes and Mary Mellor make persuasive contributions to a venture which generally moves at a pleasing pace.
John Slim, Birmingham Evening Mail
THE TRIALS and tribulations of middle age can have a startling and astonishing effect on people.
There can be no more dramatic change than that which affects Dennis Cain, though, in Willy Russell's inventive and hilarious comedy.
Cain, played by Adam Lee, flips alarmingly as he approaches his 35th birthday. He and his wife have just moved into a new neighbour-hood where keeping up with the Joneses is not just essential, it is an Olympic sport.
Dennis launches an offensive against the whole of suburbia - and very funny it is too. Wythall Amateur Dramatic Society bring the play to life with commendable professionalism.
The first half of this production is unfortunately slow as scenes are set quite painstakingly. Once the basis of the plot is laid, however, the second act reels out gag after gag. There are also plenty of twists to keep the brain active, with half of the estate engaged in affairs with each other.
Sue Lister as snooty neighbour, Jane Fuller, steals every scene as the prim and proper finger dust-testing lady next door who gives the Cain's black marks for every social feux-pas.
No black marks here, though - a top notch night out.