In­ti­mate story of per­sonal in­sight

Midweek Visiter - - Life At The Little Theatre, Southport -

THE Lit­tle Theatre stage is cur­rently burst­ing with high-kick­ing cow­boys and fired up farm­ers in BOS Mu­si­cal Theatre Com­pany’s spec­tac­u­lar, up­lift­ing pro­duc­tion of the Rodgers and Ham­mer­stein favourite, Ok­la­homa!

Les­lie Lon­g­ley is in the sad­dle as Curly McLean, hit­ting the high notes and tilt­ing his hat at love in­ter­est Lau­rey Wil­liams, played beau­ti­fully by So­phie McGui­ness.

Another Les, namely in­com­ing SDC chair Les Gom­er­sall, takes the male role in the next show, our an­nual bar pro­duc­tion open­ing on June 5 which is SDC’s two-handed sea­son fi­nale.

Same Time Next Year, writ­ten by Bernard Slade, was one of the most pop­u­lar ro­man­tic come­dies of the 20th cen­tury.

It fol­lows two strangers who meet one evening in a restau­rant and have a one-night stand that turns into “one beau­ti­ful week­end ev­ery year with no cares, no ties and no re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” stretch­ing over 24 years.

All the ac­tion takes place in the same guest cot­tage of the Sea Shad­ows Inn, North Cal­i­for­nia.

The cot­tage never changes, un­like Ge­orge and Doris. At the begin­ning of the play they are both mar­ried with three chil­dren each.

Although we never meet their spouses or off­spring, we do learn how Ge­orge’s and Doris’s re­la­tion­ships with their re­spec­tive fam­i­lies af­fect their lives and at­ti­tudes.

The changes within Amer­ica and its life­styles over a quar­ter of a cen­tury have their ef­fects on Ge­orge and Doris too.

What’s that well-known say­ing about never dis­cussing re­li­gion, pol­i­tics or money in po­lite com­pany?

Most peo­ple of that gen­er­a­tion will re­mem­ber the ef­fect the Viet­nam War had on the whole coun­try at the time, and Ge­orge and Doris are no dif­fer­ent.

As you fol­low the two char­ac­ters from 1951 through to 1975, think about a see­saw. Who is up and who is down? Is money the way to mea­sure suc­cess, or are there other things which are more im­por­tant?

In the end, can there be a happy end­ing to this once-a-year, ev­ery year, af­fair?

Watch­ing a bar pro­duc­tion is re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent from the main theatre, with the au­di­ence in­hab­it­ing the same space as the per­form­ers.

The close prox­im­ity and sim­ple stag­ing cre­ates a re­ward­ing in­ti­macy and shared ex­pe­ri­ence for all.

This gen­tle, in­sight­ful com­edy is per­fectly suited to the bar.

Add in the vast skill and ex­pe­ri­ence of ac­tors Les Gom­er­sall as Ge­orge, and Trudi Hirsch as Doris and direc­tor Lynne Hawksworth’s clear vi­sion and fine grasp of the sub­tleties, and Same Time Next Year is set to be an ab­so­lute de­light.

Ok­la­homa runs to June 2 and Same Time Next Year from June 5-9.

For tick­ets, pro­duc­tions and show times, ring our box of­fice 01704 530521, check out lit­tlethe­atre­south­port.co.uk or fol­low the theatre on Face­book/South­portLit­tleTheatre.

Les Gom­er­sall plays Ge­orge and, right, Trudi Hirsh is Doris in Same Time Next Year

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