DO YOU ENJOY CRUISING ?
Audrey Longman Studio at Brentwood Theatre
Pamela – nicely characterized by Janet Oliver – floral print dress, white cardie – is cruising alone, relaxing after an eventful coach journey. A lovely moment when she empties everything – sun-cream, Jilly Cooper - out of her beach bag to answer her phone. Her space is soon invaded by shameless silver fox Gerald; he was on the same coach, and now he's deftly moving his chair closer, boasting about his lunch box, hoping to get his new bosom buddy interested in something more exciting than horticulture. A typically hilarious performance from Vernon Keeble-Watson, finding an infinite variety in calling Pammie's name, doing press-ups on deck, sorting out the lead in his pencil, and, in an unexpected change of mood, overcome by a melancholy loneliness in his “to be or not to be” moment.
Like Sarah Brown with her Cuban milk-shake, Pamela is inspired by an exotic cocktail to involve Gerry in an Agatha Raisin fantasy. There are other passengers on board, of course, and it would be good to see a little more of the doctor, the masseuses and the lounge singer, for instance.
Not all the sequences ring as true as the initial meeting, but there are plenty of laughs before the two singles go off together to swim with turtles by way of the on-board bingo.
Written and directed by Andrew Alton-Read, this rehearsed reading is a work in progress; it's already an enjoyably gentle observational piece, bringing two contrasting characters together to fine comic effect.