REVIEW: Season’s Greetings, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Emmerdale's Peter Amory as Eddie in Season's Greetings
Emmerdale's Peter Amory as Eddie in Season's Greetings
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Christmas is coming, the sister’s getting drunk, her husband’s building a puppet show and uncle’s got a gun.

These and more make up a “typical” family Christmas, as depicted in Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious comedy Season’s Greetings.

A host of TV stars have come together on Worthing’s Connaught Theatre stage this week for Ian Dickens International’s production of the 1980 comedy that brings together all the elements of a family Christmas while beneath the comedy highlighting the harsh realities of life.

There’s the unhelpful husband who gets so drunk, his heavily pregnant wife has to drag him to bed, the wife who is running around doing everything while her husband leaves his one job half finished, the brother-in-law who insists on “entertaining” everyone with his puppet show and the senile uncle who lives in the past and thinks guns are a great present for all the kids.

John D. Collins from Allo’ Allo’, Karen Ford from Grange Hill, Emmerdale’s Peter Amory and The Knock’s Michelle Morris are joined on stage by popular Ian Dickens actor David Callister and long-standing screen actor Richard Tate.

On opening night yesterday (Wednesday, November 27), the Connaught was the fullest I have seen it for some time and it was good to hear the audience laughing heartily from the start.

You could sense the nods of recognition as one incident followed another, and much sympathy, especially for poor old bumbling Bernard who had worked so hard on his puppet show, only to find no-one appreciated it.

Nothing to do with the quality of the production, because it was very well executed, but the most hilarious part came post-curtain.

The ending was really rather abrupt and the cast had barely formed a line before the curtain dropped. There was a short burst of clapping but no curtain call. “Have they got a pub to get to?” I said to my partner and we sat agog, laughing to ourselves while the theatre emptied around us.

Not long after, we adjourned to the Three Fishes for a quick pint, and who should be there but the entire cast, who must have changed and more or less run to the bar!

They’ll be back on stage today at 2pm. Season’s Greetings runs until Saturday, December 1, at 7.30pm daily with matinées today (Wednesday) at 2pm and Saturday at 2.30pm. Visit www.worthingtheatres.co.uk for more information.

By Elaine Hammond