Review: Betrayal dramedy warm as a fleeting embrace

By Janet McAllister

George and Doris spend one weekend together every year although they are both happily married to other people. Photo / Supplied
George and Doris spend one weekend together every year although they are both happily married to other people. Photo / Supplied

This Tadpole production is an endearing tale of marital betrayal, more entertaining than one might expect for a romantic dramedy more than 40 years old.

George and Doris spend one weekend together every year although they are both happily married to other people.

We see them every five years for 25 years; the Presidential portrait on the wall changes from Truman to Ford (although, disappointingly, the rest of the Californian hotel room decor is neither updated nor dilapidated as time goes by).

Kate Elliot and Paul Glover, as the cheerful housewife and guilt-ridden stuffed shirt, exude little lustful chemistry but work well together under the direction of John Callen to bring out moments of amusement and tension in Bernard Slade's surprisingly naturalistic script. The couple show each other pictures of their children and swap stories about their spouses which - in a nice touch - are doting as well as disparaging. In what is essentially a conversational piece, Elliot in particular uses her laugh and expressions to great effect.

Thanks to wardrobe wrangler Robyn Fleming, it's fun to see Doris' clothes and hair fashions change from the 1950s New Look silhouette to a 1975 style that almost foreshadows 1980s power dressing.

From early hints of class difference - he calls their connection "instant rapport"; she says "we hit it off" - the couple's relationship also moves, as early champagne gives way to whiskey.

Their responses to changing social mores are sketched in, but it's easy to suspend disbelief.

Warm nostalgia; perhaps the generation before the Baby Boomers wasn't so square after all.

What: Same Time, Next Year

Where and when: The Pumphouse, Takapuna, to May 22

- NZ Herald

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