The Weekend
By Michael Palin
Directed by Tabi Paternoster
The Cast:
Stephen Febble :
Martin Drummond
Virginia Febble :
Georgette Vale
Mrs Finlay :
Amada Oelrichs
Kevin Oelrichs
Alison Burton
David Percival
Bethany Cooper
  Rowena Atkinson
Hugh Bedales:
  David Atkinson

Performed at
Central Hall, Wymondham, Norfolk.
14-17th November 2012

This wonderful comedy takes place over a forty-eight hour period at the home of Stephen Febble and his patient wife Virginia. When he learns that the family, including their precocious teenager and the dog, are coming to visit, the weekend ahead seems bad enough for Stephen. But a series of revelations about his family, friends and the road to Thorpeness, together with an uninvited guest at dinner are all too much for Stephen who resorts, as always, to alcohol and sarcasm in equally generous measure.

This is a glorious examination of family values which is not only hugely funny but also at times very sad.

Kevin Oelrichs as Duff, Alison Burton as Diana and Georgette Vale as Virginia, show astonishment, contempt and agony respectively at Stephen Febble's rants and moans

Alan, played by David Percival talks of 'containerisation' and the merits of the B1119 to Saxmundham

Review by Sue Dupont:

Some excellent casting in this funny play (with the darker overtones) and how well the pace developed into a sharp production. A good set again but now to be expected. In central position as Stephen, and with probably over 60% of the dialogue throughout, and with the Samuel French character description of cantankerous, misanthropic, miserable and world-weary, in a touch of the Victor Meldrew’s, Martin Drummond played a tour de force in a role to be relished with the twists and turns, the relationships, the timing and the comedy pointing, but with his wife Virginia, played excellently by Georgette Vale, we did see the softer and vulnerable underbelly which explained the character and touched the sympathy nerve. She had a hard task to keep together the family for the weekend and to juggle the situations plus coping with the food! The dialogue between this couple really reflected their long-time married relationship. The daughter, Diana played by Alison Burton, managed the character of disillusion and some unhappiness but was persuaded to try again with that son-in-law of David Percival as Alan with his exacting dialogue and boring us with road numbers and statistics and late-night TV programmes, and don’t we all know someone just like this? A typical teenager from Bethany Cooper as Charlotte with the makeup and magazines and not really appreciating her grand-father. The neighbours Duff and Bridget (Kevin Oelrichs and Rowena Atkinson) were very good foils to the situations and dialogues, especially the non-communications regarding roads planning on one hand and the possible extra-marital relationship on the other, and this foursome of friends and the underlying plots worked well; as did the other member of the dinner party Hugh (David Atkinson) throughout all that mixed subject dialogue, and we wondered throughout whether he really had these affairs through his professional contacts or were they just gossip? This was a well chosen play for the company with these well matched characters and certainly the production brought out all the comedy and interplay with style.

'Pippa' the real live dog used on stage
courtesy of Carol West