Some of you may recall a popular British BBC series of the early 90’s, titled Waiting For God. If you do, you might be pleased to know it has been given a new lease of life as it has been adapted for the stage in its UK tour premiere, which is currently at the New Wolsey theatre, Ipswich.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember the series as it was a little before my years, however that didn’t stop me from being intrigued by this quirky looking story. If like me, you don’t have prior knowledge, the story focuses on two characters – Diana Trent (Nichola McAuliffe) and Tom Ballard (Jefferey Holland). Both of whom are living at Bayview Retirement Village and are facing the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully. The two are rather spirited beings, Diana in particular is a battle-axe extraordinaire, while Tom is a little less aggressive though unafraid of standing up to the homes manager. Together they share hilarious adventures, with unexpectedly heart-warming results.
The cast are genius – there’s no denying Nichola McAuliffe as Diana Trent is the star of the show because she naturally steals every scene. Her portrayal of Ms Trent is just hysterical; you can tell through-out that underneath her tough cynical bitterness, there is a woman wanting to love and be loved. Her co-star, Jefferey Holland as Mr Ballard is of equal brilliance with his silliness and cheekiness. A small cast of nine all showcase great talent and create characters we love, loathe and somewhere in-between.
The set only takes subtle changes through-out, the key set-piece being the two adjoining terraces of Trent and Ballard. It’s a rather simple design, yet it’s effective for the piece and makes it easy to transition to other sets. I rarely mention props in my reviews – but there was one particular ad-lib involving grapes that had the audience in stitches (and even the cast were struggling to contain the laughter!).
Overall, this is a darkly funny play with an ounce of naughtiness to it. Though underneath its farcical surface, there are many touching elements – covering subject matters of illness, death, growing old, the views on the elderly and love. It showcases that while growing older may not be brilliant, it doesn’t mean you have to give up the fun. It’s a show probably targeted to an audience slightly older than myself, however a brilliant one worth catching if you can! If you enjoyed the TV series, imagine all the best bits put into two hours; if you don’t recall the series or weren’t a fan, why not take a chance anyway!