Mammals – March 2013 – Bath Chronicle

Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath
Noisy, frantic, domestic, witty, and slightly dark, this play is set in Alan Ayckbourn territory of marriages in difficulty, but somehow it seems more contemporary and has the advantage of Amelia Bullimore’s terrific ear for a sharp line.
“What happens when the tide goes out?” asks carefree, Phil to his married best friend, Kev. And that could be the strap line for the evening as the tide keeps going out for all concerned.
Kev and Jane (Andrew Fletcher and Lisa Thrower, a convincingly suburban couple) have two children, six- year-old Jess and four-year-old Betty, played with thumb sucking, scowling, screaming relish by Verity Neeves and Lucy Brownhill respectively.
But Kev is away a lot and reveals a looming affair with a work colleague just as friends Phil and Lorna (Harriet Pocock and Tim Thornton playing the semi-detached couple to perfection) arrive for an overnight visit.
Revelations pile in and relationships strain as home truths fly. Accusing friend Phil of having a string of brief relationships, Kev explains, “I never saw Kathleen with her coat off.”
Naturally the children ask lots of questions as they pick up on the stress. As Phil returns from an evening out with sleek sexy high maintenance Lorna, they query, “What’s a cocktail?” Phil replies, “A fruity drink that makes you talk a lot and then fall over.”
It’s not all fun though and looks like ending in tears all around, but not quite.
All this and a huge chaotic living room set make for great evening’s entertainment full of familiar problems but with better dialogue than most of us can manage.
The show can be seen each night at 7.30pm until March 30.
Philip Horton