Author: Michael Palin
Summary: Best known for his acting and writing with the Monty Python team and more recently in travel documentaries, Michael Palin has turned his trenchant wit and eye for the absurd to playwriting in The Weekend.
Written in 1994, The Weekend (set in Suffolk, the present) opened at the Strand Theatre in London's West End and has been described as a 'riot of a comedy with an ever-present dark side'.
Cantankerous, world-weary and generally grumpy... think of an adjective synonymous with 'crabby' and it will apply to Stephen Febble. All he wants is a quiet life but, to his horror, his long-suffering wife Virginia fills the house with guests for the weekend.
Not only do his daughter, gormless son-in-law, precocious grand-daughter and incontinent dog arrive, but his best friend, his wife and her smooth chiropodist lover turn up for dinner. In turn exasperated, frustrated and irritated, Stephen responds in his normal fashion - reaching for the whisky (in large amounts) and for the sarcasm (in even larger amounts).
Despite this, though (or perhaps because of it), there's lots of laughter and writer Michael Palin has given us lots to laugh at. But it's also a play with more than a thread of black as well as light humour, and a play with surprising revelations of emotion, as well as farce. In short, if you want straight comedic entertainment, it's there in buckets, but there's also a poignancy that gives the script much depth.
As Stephen says, 'Murky pasts darling? What about our murky presents, eh?'
Director Iona Anderson, whose approach to this script is to keep the set clear and simple, focusing on the subtlety of the characters' interactions, assembled an experienced cast for this production.
Dates and times: Wednesday 7 to Saturday 10 November 2007 at 8 pm, Sunday 11 November at 4 pm, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 November at 6.30 pm, Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 November at 8 pm
Crew: Iona Anderson (director, sound designer), Meredith Dooley, Joy Hellyer (production manager), Sue Saville (prompt), Barry Meyers (stage manager, sound designer), Sam Perry (set coordinator), Stephen Fearnley (set construction, lighting operator), Jacqueline Owen (set decoration), Andrea Wiechern, Sheena Hudson (assistant stage manager, props), Leslie Craven (lighting designer), Peter Swain (assistant lighting designer), Susan Page (sound operator), Sue Taylor (wardrobe assistant)