James Mercer and Debbie Griffiths in BLT’s September production of Rules For Living, directed by Jane Buckland (Photo: Amy Jenkins@Understudy Photography)
Fri 16 – Sat 24 September 2016 at 7.45pm (not Sun 18)
Rules For Living
by Sam Holcroft
Directed by Jane Buckland
In Rules For Living, first performed at the National Theatre a few years ago, Sam Holcroft gives us a complicated, funny, original presentation of the way all our behaviour is governed by unconscious rules.
She has created a show which has all the sharpness of observation and amusing interactions of an Ayckbourn play but has allowed the audience to see the family’s tics and foibles not just in the way they act, but as written (literally) rules which the audience are allowed to read but all of the characters fail to notice. Edith the matriarch “must clean to stay calm”, or Carrie, the free spirited girlfriend “must stand to tell a joke”. The question is, are they being self protective or destructive?
As the play progresses, further refinements are added to the instructions. Some highlight compulsive behaviours but some tip off the audience about something concealed. Make sure you listen carefully to what Edith’s son Matthew says whenever he is sitting down!
As in all good domestic comedies, particularly those set in middle class homes at Christmas, everyone is unhappy in their own unique way. Something that might help, a course in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, is mocked, yet will the audience conclude that practice of its techniques could be exactly what this group of people need. How will it all end? Come along and find out!
Edith : Tricia Osborne-King
Adam : Martin Phillips
Matthew : James Mercer
Francis : Felix Catto
Sheena : Debbie Griffiths
Carrie : Bethan Boxall
Emma : Nomi Bailey