‘Under The Blue Sky’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by July 10, 2016

‘Under The Blue Sky’ was written by author and university lecturer, David Eldridge in 2000 whilst still in his thirties. Eldridge was born in Romford, Greater London. He has written 2 dozen plays in the last 20 years. One play ‘Market Boy’ is his reminisces of working on a stall at Romford Market.

This very funny, adult play has bawdy and strong language. It was revived in July 2008 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, and starred Chris O’Dowd, Catherine Tate and Francesca Annis.

This very entertaining production consists of three, half-hour plays (no interval) and is being presented by the Melville Theatre Company at the Melville Theatre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway in Melville. The performances start at 8.00 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 23rd July. There is one matinée on Sunday 17th July at 2.00 pm.

 

The scenery is a very effective, crisscross arrangement of white muslin hangings against a black drape background. Designer, Susan Lynch has then added minimal furniture, just enough to establish the location. Stage manager Victoria Dixon and assistant Roy Sainsbury had a wonderful team who moved in rapidly and changed a kitchen to a bedroom in just a few seconds.

Lars Jensen’s lighting design had the usual floods, but employed new strip LEDs at the foot of the hangings, this helped them change colour simply and successfully. Great effect, with well selected colours for the action in each Act. Lighting and sound smoothly operated by Vici Richardson.

 

Act 1 – an apartment near the London docks, Feb 1996.

       Disinterested schoolteacher, Nick (Sean Bullock) has invited his warm, loving girlfriend, Helen (Georgina Kling – a solid, emotional performance) back to his flat for the first time in their year long, unrequited relationship.

     Nick has prepared a delicious meal and is about to make his important announcement.

Act 2 – Graham’s bedroom, Essex May 1997

        Shy, school laboratory technician, virginal Graham (Zac Bennett-McPhee) has managed to lure sexy schoolmistress, Michelle (Petrina Harley – the ultimate slut) to his bedroom.

       Could this be the answer to all of his dreams and even marriage?

Act 3 – Anne’s patio in Devon, August 1998

        In her late middle age and now retired, Anne (Joy Northover) is serving drinks to a visitor; an ex-work colleague, youngish Robert (Garry Davies) has travelled from north east of London to see his secret cougar, Anne, and share with her gossip of their old work friends.

 

Three very different tales, one intense, one light-hearted and the last, plain deep affection are an impressive collection for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The characters are well written and skilfully interpreted – from deep love to pure lust.

Director Susan Lynch can always be relied upon to give the audience quality and value for money. This is the type of play that can be watched and enjoyed on a basic level, or by reading between the lines, a much richer story can be discovered.

It was well worth leaving the warmth of home, on the foul night I saw it.