Reviewer: Stephen Bates
Getting a foot on the London housing ladder can be tough, but Eddie scrimped and saved for six years and got himself a house and garden rolled into one. So why is he so unhappy?
Margaret Perry’s one-act supernatural comedy is getting its premiere as part of Festival46, the King’s Head Theatre’s new writing season. Eddie (Royce Cronin) surveys his new home with pride and, adding icing to the cake, he gets his girlfriend Anya (Laura Harling) to move in with him. All is bliss until flowers start appearing behind the wallpaper and nettles grow in the kettle. What Anya has not told Eddie is that she had lived in the same house previously with her late mother, a green-fingered microbiologist.
Appearing only to Anya, her mother, Fisher (Karen McCaffrey) explains herself: “I might be a ghost, but I’m still an atheist”, perhaps making her the actual mother-in-law from Hell. Thus Perry adds a neat twist to a common enough comedy threesome. The beleaguered Eddie rages in frustration and looks for an “investigative gardener”, while, unseen to him, mother and daughter enjoy cosy chats watching daytime television and the blithe spirit tends her plants nonchalantly or sunbathes on a lawn in the middle of the living room.
None of this is particularly logical, but Perry shows deft touches in combining surreal comedy with banal everyday situations and conversations. The characters of Eddie and Fisher contrast well, but Anya needs more colour and, having set up her play cleverly, Perry seems less confident in rounding off the storyline.
Director Ellen Buckley keeps things bubbling along for a running time of just over an hour and judges the strain of gentle humour that runs throughout perfectly.
Runs until 30 July 2016 | Image: Contributed