4000 Days

Adam Trembath, Claire Fisher and Al Wadlan star in 4000 Days at the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe unti Tuesday 14th August 

4000 Days: London Repertory Players - Shelley Theatre, Boscombe

Moving away from the whodunnits, thrillers and melodramas that are standard fare for the average rep’ company, the London Repertory Players bring this wise and witty contemporary drama to the Shelley stage in Bournemouth. Following  last week ’s excellent production of Alan Bennett’s 1980s masterwork Talking Heads, they move bang up to date with Peter Quilter’s 4000 Days, a play that was premiered just three years ago.

It’s a fine piece - a three hander about Michael, who following an accident, wakes from a coma to discover that though he’s only been in hospital for a few weeks he has no memory of the past 11 years. Staging a vigil at his bedside have been his chippy mother Carol and his dull but pushy lover Paul. United in their grief over Michael and a mutual loathing of each other they engage in a kind emotional tug of love over the man they both adore.

Al Wadlan is superb as Michael, baffled and conflicted by suddenly discovering that it is not 2008 and that everyone he knows looks a decade older than he recalls. There is also the anxiety of knowing that he has a long-term partner he knows nothing about and that he has given up his life as an artist to work in an insurance company. Why? Claire Fisher as Carol and Adam Trembath as Paul battle to reclaim him. Who will win? You’ll have to go along to the Shelley to find out. 

Extremely well acted by a talented cast and directed by company founder Vernon Thompson, 4000 Days is an impressive addition to the company’s repertoire. It offers a great story enhanced by a simple but effective set, good lighting and sound and clever use of music and video indicating Michael’s missing years.

Beautifully written, it is a fascinating and often funny exploration of how we react to changing circumstances and what we might do given a second chance. Perhaps best all is the fact that Claire doesn’t hate Paul because he’s in a  same sex relationship with her son, she hates him because he’s boring and a bit of prat. Playing the homophobe card would have been a cop-out. 

Here we see tension born out of an artistic talent smothered. When Michael reaches for his paints and brushes to reignite the flame of his creative past it looks as though all will be well. But, as he has already discovered, life is full of unintended consequences.

*4000 Days runs at the Shelley Theatre until Tuesday 13th August.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2019