Review: When We Are Married

Peter Biggers, Mary Frater, Sally Miller, Robin Lewsey, Margaret Neale and Gary Brown are among the cast of When We Are Married being staged by Alnwick Theatre Club.
Peter Biggers, Mary Frater, Sally Miller, Robin Lewsey, Margaret Neale and Gary Brown are among the cast of When We Are Married being staged by Alnwick Theatre Club.

When We Are Married, Alnwick Theatre Club, Alnwick Playhouse, Thursday, April 26.

“IF I’m going to argue with a woman, it might as well be the one I live with.”

This is just one of the pithy lines that crops up in JB Priestly’s 1938 comedy about three married couples celebrating, or thinking they’re celebrating, their silver wedding anniversaries in a small town in Yorkshire.

And Alnwick Theatre Club certainly did it justice last night, amusing me and the rest of the audience as an evening of genteel celebration descends into farce.

The play was written about 50 years before I was born and is set another 30 before that, but while the setting – the parlour of a relatively well-to-do home – is traditional, the comedy and themes remain relevant.

When We Are Married sends up small-mindedness among the middle-class ‘dignitaries’ as well as the stereotypical forthright, penny-pinching Yorshireman relentelessly.

The main characters are concerned with ‘decency’ yet as events unfold, their pomposity is well and truly pricked.

I don’t want to reveal too much more of the plot for those who may be attending tonight or tomorrow, which I would certainly recommend if you want an entertaining night of theatre.

And if for no other reason, go for Jimmy Dodd’s absolutely brilliant performance as Henry Ormonroyd, the photographer from local paper the Yorkshire Argus, who gradually becomes more and more ‘squiffy’ as he continues to reappear at the most inopportune moments.

I saw the performance on its second night of four and it was a remarkably polished performance, if not perfect, from the amateur group.

And this was reflected in the audience, which wasn’t a full house, but was a good turnout for a rain-soaked Thursday. Here’s to hoping they are packed in tonight and tomorrow.

Ben O’Connell

• When We Are Married is at the Playhouse, tonight and tomorrow (Saturday, April 28). Tickets £9, £8 conc, £6 child/student.

FOR FULL REVIEW, SEE NEXT THURSDAY’S GAZETTE