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The regional première of Colder Than Here receives a warm welcome from the audience in the intimate studio setting of Theatre by the Lake, writes Karen Morley.
A mother of two grown up daughters has terminal cancer and aims to prepare her husband and children for the world without her – and finding her perfect last resting place is the means she plans to use to bring everyone together.
This is a drama which plays with your emotions, from laugh-to-tears within a single sentence.
The four-hander production creates an onstage family that comes together with dramatic success, with brilliant direction from Abigail Anderson.
Maggie Tagney as Myra captures the shrinking of the human form as cancer takes control of a body. You can feel the pain the disease is creating within every bone of Myra thanks to Tagney’s brilliant portrayal of the brave mother using her last days to plan for the future of her family.
“I’d like to go back to work as it’s boring waiting to die,” says Myra as she works on her first powerpoint presentation to shows her family the green funeral she wants.
Philip Rham as her restrained, English, middle-class surveyor husband Alec gives a moving performance. When his eldest daughter shouts at him for reading his newspaper while his wife is dying he simply replies: “A watched kettle never boils!”
As well as moving, this is a very funning play. Augustine Seymour as Jenna the young wild child and Joannah Tincey as the older, more sensible Harriet are brilliant together as the battling siblings.
It’s hard to believe that Laura Wade wrote this play when she was just 25 as there is a mature depth of human understanding. The tender scene between Myra and Alec showing their love for each other is beautifully created by Rham and Tagney.
This is a beautiful peace of theatre not to be missed – laughter, tears and a very English approach to death.
o Colder Than Here by Laura Wade runs at Theatre by the Lake Studio until November 9, 2012. To book call 017687 74411 or visit www.theatrebythelake.co.uk.