Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Nigel Betts’

The original TV version of this 70’s sitcom – all four series in only a few years – was something I returned to in lockdown and rather enjoyed, for both the characters than the storylines of contrasting lifestyles. It also proved to have something to say about self sufficiency which still resonates. The stage adaptation is written and directed by the excellent Jeremy Sams, so that clinched the deal on seeing it.

It starts, as does the first episode of the first series, on Tom Good’s 40th birthday when both he and his wife have a mid-life crisis, simultaneously and seemingly co-incidentally, and they pack in their respective occupations and begin a new eco-friendly lifestyle – in Surbiton! – whilst their neighbours Jerry & Margot continue, one on the corporate treadmill, the other social climbing.

Beyond here we get familiar but still funny stories of the adventure and the contrasting lifestyles, until a second act almost entirely devoted to the pregnancy and dramatic delivery of Pinkie the pig’s litter, where the milk-woman, policeman, doctor and his assistant all get roped in. We even get a live(ish) appearance from Geraldine the goat.

Rufus Hound as Tom & Sally Tatum as Barbara and Dominic Rowan as Jerry & Preeya Kalidas as Margot soon make these iconic TV characters their own, probably the toughest thing to pull off. Nigel Betts and Tessa Churchard do a great job with the seven other roles, particularly in the second act when some nifty quick changes prove necessary.

Other than the 70’s set and costumes, and social norms of the period, it didn’t feel at all dated. It’s safe and predictable, but that brings with it nostalgia and charm which I found impossible to resist. Sams has somehow created an adaptation which doesn’t feel like an adaptation at all, and his staging squeezes every bit of humour out of the situations. Michael Taylor’s design never lets us forget where and when we are, with deft quick changes from the Good to Leadbetter homes.

A warm and cosy evening by the fire, but live in a theatre.

Read Full Post »