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Wildest Dreams

Black Ram Theatre at The Cut, Halesworth

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 4 February 2008

Wildest Dreams

A somewhat surreal mix of comedy, pathos and menace is this piece by Alan Ayckbourn, often described as one of his darkest comedies.

It begins in a dingy room with a motley collection of friends engaged in a role-play game, not unlike Dungeons and Dragons. It ends in a bewildering concoction of legends and bizarre lunacies.

There is Stanley (Ed Birch), English teacher and host of the fantasy. Melissa Ramadan is his long-suffering wife who finally goes mad. Other players are Tom Hartill who thinks he is an alien and whose mother is a disembodied voice and Rachel Porter who lives in squalor and eats cold tinned beans.

Into their dull routine life comes Marcie (Rebecca Lewis-Smith) on the run from her bullying husband (Alexander Helm). Nothing is ever the same again, starting with their weekly game and changing all their lives.

It is all very clever writing and Black Ram Theatre handles it well. The set has three simultaneous levels, the timing is crucial and there are some fine comic moments that add to the subtlety, enjoyment and fiood-for-thought as we observe the lives of others exposed. For real. Not in a game.

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