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  • Play had some 'great dialogue and was so well acted'

    By Ron Ellis

    Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade

    SDC at Little Theatre (bar production)

    THIS play was the story of a couple who meet by chance in a California hotel in 1951 and spend a night of passion together, which they enjoy so much that they decide to repeat the experience every year on the same day at the same hotel.

    The couple meet despite the fact they are both happily married to other people.

    We see them at five year intervals until 1976, observing how their relationship develops against a background of historical events like the Vietnam war and the rise of feminism, with songs from the different periods contributing to the atmosphere. They swap stories about the good and bad points of their respective partners and they talk about their children.

    Sex is discussed but never seen.

    Les Gomersall, resplendent in a Tony Curtis hairpiece, plays George, an accountant, who feels guilty about the liaison but not guilty enough to prevent him turning up on time every year.

    Doris is more practical and Trudi Hirsch’s natural warmth makes her a more sympathetic character. Her husband believes she is at an annual religious retreat.

    Five years on, Doris has returned to college but in 1961 she has another baby (which George delivers at the hotel!). She reappears in 1966 as a hippie, complete with a Cher wig, while George has turned into a balding businessman. By 1971, she is running a successful business and he is in analysis.

    We share the good and bad times with them, all the while curious to see how it will end. It isn’t all fun. George’s son is killed in Vietnam and, in 1976, his wife has died whereupon he begs Doris to marry him. A moving moment. She gently points out he never offered to leave his wife before therefore, likewise, she won’t desert her husband.

    And so they settle for continuing the annual tryst and, after waiting all this time for something dramatic to happen, we realise things are never going to change.

    Lots of funny moments though and a brilliant performance by both actors. Directed by Lynne Hawksworth, this was a fine ending to another successful SDC season.

    Star rating: 7 out of 10. Great dialogue and so well acted.

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