Diane and Tom

Nichola McAuliffe as Diana and Jeffrey Holland as Tom. Picture: Geraint Lewis

Waiting For God

Malvern Theatres


Michael Aitkens’ comedy is adapted from the long running television series of the same name. Nichola McAuliffe as Diana Trent and Jeffrey Holland as Tom Ballard certainly have big boots to fill.

Everyone who saw the original TV series will no doubt remember Stephanie Cole and Graham Crowden in the roles and there is most likely some expectation that McAuliffe and Holland will ‘imitate’ their predecessors and recreate a likeness of the Diana and Tom that audiences were so used to seeing on the small screen.

Well that is not the case, but it is certainly not disappointing. McAuliffe has given Diana a more feisty and acidic edge, whilst Holland brings more sophistication and intelligence to Tom’s character.

Nothing is lost from the original, indeed there is improvement and added depth of characterisation resulting in a greater sense of believability to the relationship. As ever, the two are consummate performers McAuliffe is superb and Holland impresses.

Waiting for God was a serialisation and it is notoriously difficult to pack a number of episodes into the storyline of one stage play, but Michael Aitkens has been relatively successful in achieving this. Of course there is a modicum of haste in the overall result but this does not detract.

It is refreshing to see that the audience is graced with the ability of using their imagination when set changes take place. The simple but effective set of two overlooking patios remain in place whilst various furniture and props are brought on swiftly and unobtrusively to represent other locations such as a hospital ward, a surgical theatre, a dining room , a GP’s waiting room and a church.

With a fast moving storyline this is a far more accomplished way of managing multi- location settings without hindering the performance.

The script is well written with some amusing and pertinent lines and many hilarious one liners. Whilst having some lovely comedic moments, it is not farcical and has some thoughtful and poignant moments. There are some beautiful observations of the way older people are viewed and the experiences of the elders of the community. No subject is left unturned with references to love, sex, relationships, death, religion and politics as well as prostates, breasts and farting!

A strong supporting cast with Joanna Bending as Sarah Chase, David Benson as Geoffrey Ballard, Peter Cadden as Dennis Sparrow, Samuel Collings as Harvey Baines, Corinna Marlowe as Dr Henry and Emily Pithon as Jane Edwards helped to make this a thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre.

Whether or not you have seen the original series you are sure to be entertained by this laugh out loud production. To 03-06-17

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith


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