When We Are MarriedThe People's Theatre
May 1st 2018
It’s not often you are exposed to cigar smoke in public these days. This play from J.B Priestley (who once actually visited the People's Theatre and is obviously a fond favourite here) is one of those times. Set in the early 1930s, the play is so old everyone from the original production is long dead. This production is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French LTD, with music from Scarborough Spa Orchestra.
The play has quite a large cast and reminded me of a similar play with married couples which The People's Theatre had put on at the end of 2017. The set was very much of the period as was the cast's attire. Set in Yorkshire, some of the language used I didn’t understand, and especially the references to the old currency. I thought the play might have been updated when it was adapted, but it seems very much intact and so, for me, it felt very dated for a comedy. The older audience seemed to enjoy it, but laughter was not as frequent as their more modern comedies.
The acting was good, everyone thoroughly committed to their roles. The humour was quite repetitive and all stemmed from the fact that the three couples who thought they were married, were not actually married. The class system is at the heart of the play, with the servants being talked down to, but also holding their own. Infidelity is brushed off, like a tantrum, instead of a relationship deal breaker.
Overall this was a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time, when status was everything and smoking cigars was considered healthy and la-de-dar wasn’t a reference to a foo fighters song.
The People's Theatre are currently going through a refurbishment, and have just won an award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors North East Awards. Donations for the final £90,000 needed to complete the renovations are most welcome and a trip to this lovely theatre is a worthwhile one.
When We Are Married is playing until May 5th.
Frank Cromartie Murphy