Waiting for God

WAITING FOR GOD Nichola McAuliffe as Diana & Jeffrey Holland as Tom Credit Geraint Lewis

Nichola McAuliffe and Jeffrey Holland as Diana and Tom in Waiting For God. Picture by Geraint Lewis

Waiting for God: Lighthouse, Poole (Monday 5th June)

One part poignant exploration of a serious social problem to two parts end of the pier style romp, this new stage version of Michael Aitkens’ 1990s TV sitcom works a treat.

The characters from the popular BBC show are the same with principal residents, Diana Trent and Tom Ballard, played with much gusto and brilliant comic timing by Nichola McAuliffe and Jeffrey Holland. The events at the Bayview retirement home however have moved forward 25 years to the present day.

We find Diana and Tom contriving to grow old disgracefully, fighting the patronising attitudes of the world at large and even finding time for some satisfying post-party sex. This is a rest-home where residents use laptops and smartphones and, at least some of them, have a decidedly racy past.

The play is essentially a knockabout comedy and a very good one at that but it also addresses our often confused at conflicted attitude to the elderly.

McAuliffe’s Diana - spiky and defensive - grows visibly younger as she finds a meaningful if somewhat unconventional relationship with widower Tom.

Respectively slowed by a broken hip and a prostate problem, the couple defy stereotyping as old crocks and easily outwit emotionally retarded Bayview boss Harvey Baines (Samuel Collings) and his besotted, dim-witted  assistant Jane (Emily Pithon).

Indicating that family problems continue even when you’re in the old folks home, Joanna Bending is Diana’s niece Sarah coming to terms with having a bun in the oven and a fraudster husband in jail while David Benson plays Tom’s son Geoffrey, a dullard whose wife is a serial adulterer.

Happily Diana and Tom know exactly what to do to make sure that their own love life flourishes.

A very enjoyable show with plenty of belly laughs and a few important points to make.

Waiting for God continues its run at Lighthouse in Poole until Saturday 10th June.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2017