FROM the first strands of what I think was Captain Sensible’s 1982 smash Happy Talk interspersed with the ear shattering sound of a pneumatic drill – I was interested.
The Lindley Players’ production of Alan Bennett’s, Enjoy, was fantastic and the sell-out audience laughed throughout – especially in the second half when the smut level ratcheted up.
The story is about Connie and Wilfred Craven, who live in a Leeds back-to-back in a street being demolished by bulldozers and are facing eviction.The pair are forced to play host to a council sociologist who observes their every move without speaking and they find it impossible to behave normally.
The play, directed by Peter Bressington, gets more and more absurd as neighbours and relatives appear – all followed closely by observers dressed in matching bottle green skirt suits, and clutching notepads.
Tattooed Wilfred (Roy Brown), spends most of the play in an armchair wearing a string vest with his flies undone and Connie (Lynney Evans), whose memory is going, constantly asks people to repeat what they’ve said,
Grumpy Wilfred waxes lyrical about daughter, Linda, who is apparently a “personal secretary” who travels the world. When the voluptuous Linda (Lucie Nash) bursts through the front door dressed as a hooker, snogging the chauffeur, with plans to jet off to Saudi Arabia to get married, it is obvious this is unlikely.
There’s some great one liners, snappy dialogue and the acting from everyone is fantastic.
Story lines introduced from the start don’t turn out as expected. The observer “Kim,” who you can’t help but notice is a man in drag, is in fact their son Terry (Dan Coles).
And there is, typically for Alan Bennett, a touch of pathos with unpleasant family bombshells casually announced in throwaway lines followed by a joke.
The only minor wobbles were Lynney Evans momentarily forgetting a line (ironic) shouted from off stage and, occasionally, Roy Brown’s accent, in an otherwise authentic performance.
The 70s-looking flock wallpapered living room is great and in the last act of the play the house is dismantled by construction workers and taken away – with Connie yelling “wait, I haven’t washed my hands” and leaping into the kitchen to be wheeled away with the sink.
Her destiny is living in an exact recreation of the street in a “people’s (visitors) park” to preserve a way of life that Alan Bennett takes pains to point out doesn’t even exist. A big cheese from the council says: “This will be recreated on the outskirts brick by brick. Trams will run to a ‘close-knit community’ where everyone knows each other’s name. Soot will fall from the sky and there will be genuine hardship, scrimping and saving.”
It was a hugely entertaining play enjoyed by a packed crowd in a fabulous venue.
Emma Cooney – Whitstable Times Review 19th April 2013
Original Article: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/REVIEW-Enjoy-Playhouse-Theatre-Whitstable/story-18745992-detail/story.html#ixzz2S4okl09Y