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The Final Test, Bournemouth Pavilion
AS WELL as its usual musicals, family and variety summer season shows, Bournemouth Pavilion is offering a couple of adult plays this year.
The first is the premiere of Chris Paling’s new comedy The Final Test, and opening night was a great success.
If you enjoy Alan Ayckbourn’s plays, you’ll probably love this. Like much of Ayckbourn’s work, it’s about contemporary English middle class couples. And like Ayckbourn’s plays, it’s thought-provoking, bittersweet, and laugh-out-loud funny.
Peter and Ruth have had a long and comfortable marriage, Peter happily listening to the cricket on his radio in the garden, Ruth apparently content.
The set, featuring their solid but stale house and garden, is symbolic of their marriage, and the cricket commentary is Peter’s solace.
But Ruth rebels, sells the house and moves to Bexhill-on-Sea with her secret lover.
The new owners of their house, a young couple trying for a baby, move in but find Peter ensconced in “his”
garden, still listening to cricket and unwilling to move out.
A policeman is called to evict Peter, and the comedy becomes enjoyably farcical as the pair end up doing a tango around the garden.
Six superb actors, including Colin Baker (Doctor Who) and Peter Amory (Emmerdale), with no microphones and no prompts, deliver terrific professionalism.
The script is beautifully crafted, the audience enjoys some delicious dramatic irony, and the dialogue sparkles: “Privacy has gone public!”
and “My Blueberry phone...”
Runs until Saturday.