Saturday, April 13, 2013

Life and Beth

Last night we went to Life and Beth at Theatre in the Round.  Very enjoyable and much more digestible for Eryn than All's Well That Ends Well, which was a struggle with the language, but which she still enjoyed.  She laughed out a loud a few times during Life and Beth, despite some grown up themes here and there.  It was a good play to find humor in, and it's fun to take her to some plays that are both funny and sad and make her think about what the playright is trying to convey and the complexity of people, opposed to the Children's Theater plays which are more one dimensional, even when they have a more complex theme.

I've been to an Alan Ayckbourn production before.  I saw Absurd Person Singular in London back in the very early 90's when I was there by myself.  I didn't know anything about the play before I went, and at the time the suicide theme for Eva was just too depressing to allow me to enjoy it, despite the humor in the other parts of the play.  But it was exciting to go to a play in London, which was my point at the time.  I notice in the Wikipedia article about Absurd Person Singular, it says it was playing at Whitehall Theatre in May 1990.  That would have been when I was there seeing a play at the West End.

But back to Life and Beth.  Funny, although in a dry way given most of the characters are dysfunctional in some way.  Alcoholic sister in law.  Overbearing, passive-aggressive (but dead) husband who says things like "hand on heart" and argues about how they've never argued.  Son who's driving his girlfriend nuts.  Girlfriend who's nuts (and talks once, which Eryn caught and we didn't).  And widow who is, in many respects, happy she's on her own.  I liked the idea that the dead husband's (Gordon Timms) parents used to tell his sister (Aunt Connie) that he had lapped her three times, until she could feel him breathing down her neck.  My sister should tell her eldest that same thing just so she knows to try harder.  And the vicar tells the widow at one point that she should accentuate the positive (the old Johnny Mercer song) and that she's still young, "for a woman."

As the Star Tribune review states, Jean Wolff was excellent as Beth.  She was the most believable of the characters and her reaction to her life with Gordon gone was illuminating.  An excellent production.

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