ABBEY Theatre’s latest production is a play about the odd places people find love and that second chances exist.
‘Love At Last’ opens on the humdrum everyday lives of a group of pensioners cooped up in a retirement home with their petty squabbles and boredom.
The introduction of a new staff member, some thefts, an unexpected windfall and a little romance shake up the status quo, and by the end of it all, their lives have been changed irrevocably.
The characters are not all they seem, and although the stereotypes are all present, there are a few surprises in store.
Frank, played by Harold Pennant Jones, is a cantankerous, chauvinistic old trade unionist with a dark secret, and the play is as much about his redemption as anything else.
Pat McInroy’s long suffering Rose, had a great scene as a word-mangling drunk, which was entirely understandable having put up with Frank for 52 years.
Sheila Ratcliffe does an excellent ‘toff’ as Helen and her pursuit of eligible bachelor Jack (Jim Shaw) allowed for some very amusing misunderstandings.
Natasha Tacken showed great promise in probably one of her biggest roles as Kim, the new start and potential thief, and Alan Johnston has a good line in bumbling love-struck vicars.
Susan, played by Caroline Pennant Jones, had some great lines as an eerily accurate clairvoyant, as did Hilary Tasker as Carol the manager.
Cath Eddie was fantastic as Katy, the unlikely heroine, and Laura Adam’s Martha changed the lives of everyone in the play.
The entire play took place in the day room of the care home and the stage crew have done a good job again of making the best of a limited space.
Producer Brian Bruce should be justifiably pleased with his cast and as always the Abbey was sold out on the opening night.
The playwright Raymond Hopkins has donated his share of the proceeds to Multiple Sclerosis Research. JR