REVIEW: Wife After Death at Riverhead Theatre Louth

Eric Chappell is a well known play writer of black comedies, he has an aptitude for hysterical one liners.

Even though I have seen and really enjoyed a few of his plays before I was a bit dubious about going to watch a play about a deceased comedian, what could be funny about that!

How wrong could I have been, from the moment you take your seat you are in captured by the beautifully set open stage. Sitting there I had time to soak in the vibrant colours and the pieces that created the rooms ambience. Well done to Eric Cahill and Ashley Stevens for an amazing set.

When the lights came down, the dramatic music started and a stark spot light hit the coffin I was transfixed, in one spilt second the mood had changed. The lights slowly came up on stage as the lighter hearted theme music ‘getting to know you’ filled my ears.

Two characters dressed in mourning clothes wander onto stage and then the satirical wit begins. Bruce Bourquin and Anna Marie Vessey play husband and wife duo Harvey and Vi Barrett, oldest and dearest friends of the late Dave Thursby.

The humour bounces between them and the other characters that come on, more often than not including the coffin. The coffin plays an important part in the first half with a lot of the comical banter around it, and it nearly steals the show until the fabulous entrance of Kevin Prewitt played by Jeremy Smith.

Jeremy’s depiction of Kevin is hysterical from his facial expressions to his body movements and its worth going to watch the play just to see him.

All the characterisations are wonderful, especially the stark differences between each of the female characters, Holly Mapletoft play the well to do widow. Michelle Willoughby the straight laced wife of Kevin. Cheryl Smith the brash x-wife with a secret up her lacy sleeve and Anna-Marie Vessey – Vi Barrett the butt of every ones jokes.

I couldn’t help but love Vi, her rhetorical wit slipped off her tongue as the down trodden wife of Harvey and even though she was at the end of most of the taunting jokes surely not Vi had the last laugh.

Louth Playgoers are performing Wife After Death from November 5 till November 10 at the Louth Riverhead Theatre and you can get your tickets from the box office 01507 606350, tickets are £7.50 and under1 8’s £4.

REview by Susan Munro.