The Weekend

                                                                   poster weekend

Directed by Judith Shingler

Cast: Andrew Saalmons,Christine Wright, Eilleen Smith, Barry Porter, Tricia Donson, Steve Donson, Mike Northfield, Stella Coxon, Tiree Withers & Leila (the dog)

Ambleside Players Autumn Production this year was The Weekend, a play written by Michael Palin who is best known for his acting and writing with the Monty Python team and more recently in travel documentaries. Michael Palin has turned his trenchant for wit and eye for the absurd to play writing in The Weekend.

Written in 1994, The Weekend (set in Suffolk) opened at the Strand Theatre in London’s West End and has been described as “a riot of comedy” with an ever present dark side.

Cantankerous, world weary and generally grumpy.... think of an adjective synonymous with “crabby” and it will apply to Stephen Febble. All he wanted was a quiet life but to his horror, his long suffering wife Virginia fills the house with guests for the weekend.

Not only his daughter, gormless son in law, precocious grand-daughter and incontinent dog arrive, but his best friend, his wife, and her smooth chiropodist turn up for dinner. In turn exasperated and irritated, Stephen responds in his normal fashion – reaching for the whisky (in large amounts) and sarcasm (in even larger amounts).

Despite this, though (or perhaps because of it), there’s a lot of laughter and Michael Palin has given lots to laugh at. But it is also a play with more than a thread of black as well as light humour, a play with surprising revelations of emotion, as well as farce. In short, if you want straight comedic entertainment it is there in buckets, but there is a poignancy that gives the script much depth.

The play was performed by Ambleside Players on four sell out nights in October 2011 at The Kelsick Centre, Ambleside, Cumbria.