Reviewed by David Smith
The Galleon Theatre Group’s production of The Weekend by Michael Palin was well suited to the company, cast and the venue, Marion’s Domain Theatre.
The action takes place in the home of Stephen and Virginia Febble on a weekend in which their daughter and her family, along with a local couple are visiting. Gradually the various relationships unravel and the characters are confronted with failure and, in some, a degree of self loathing.
Director Kym Clayton brought a crisp treatment to the play, which mixes some genuinely funny lines and situations with the hollowness of the relationships of most of the main characters. The ensemble work was tight and the cast used the broad Domain stage to good effect.
Central to the performance’s success was the strength of the characterisation of Peter Smith (Stephen) and Lesley Reed (Virginia). These experienced actors instantly established the nature of their familiar and routine-driven marriage; he complacently and annoyingly reading the paper and she dutifully dashing about tidying the house and answering the phone whenever it rang. They both have a fine sense of timing and comedy, and frequently displayed that during the play. Later in Act 2, in the critical scene when Stephen finally confronted his own inadequacies and confessed to the lies he’d been living all those years, they drew genuine pathos.
David Lockwood as Duff and Vicky Horwood as Bridget were solid and convincing, while Olivia Eblen as the Febbles’ daughter Diana and Luke Budgen as her tediously transport-obsessed husband Alan, succeeded in showing how unsatisfactory their relationship had become. Warren McKenzie brought a studied sleaziness to his role of Bedales.
Although at times the script wasn’t as coherent as it could have been, such as when building up to Stephen’s confession, the Galleon Theatre Group succeeded admirably in bringing The Weekend to life.