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David Porter » Reviews » When We Are Married

When We Are Married

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 21 July 2012


This little-performed comic gem offers penetrating insight into England a hundred years ago.

It’s a study in social mores, class, male/female relationships, the north/south divide, the West Riding of Yorkshire of JB Priestley’s youth and, above all, respectability.

Lines like ‘trouble at mill’, ‘the little woman’ and ‘she picked well from the lucky bag in marrying me’ are funny but attitudes sound shocking to today’s minds.

Three couples celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of their marriages at the same chapel on the same day. They discover the parson was unqualified, so they’re not actually married, which sets the cat among the pigeons, unleashing comic mayhem.

Robin Dauncy, James McGarry and Matthew Pinkerton play the pompous, useless and henpecked husbands. Their wives Cassie Tillett, Kiera Long and Julie Benfield are in fine form.

Helen Haines is the cheeky servant girl, Jude Wyatt the nosy kitchen hand, John Hare the drunk local paper photographer while Lawrence Russell and Rebecca McClay as love’s young dream are a good foil to the hardened long-marrieds.

Genevieve Raghu directs at a lively pace, treading that line between outright farce and social history. It’s warmly recommended.

David Porter

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