A Fine Bright Day Today at the Swan Theatre, Yeovil

revswanbrightdayWATER and the sea are the constant backdrop for Philip Goulding’s play A Fine Bright Day Today, and so the incessant downpour that greeted the audience leaving the Swan Theatre seemed almost appropriate.

It’s the story of a 30-year widow and her daughter and an American hobby painter.

Margaret has lived since her trawlerman husband’s death at sea in increasing numbness, and by the time the play starts – the day social worker daughter Rebecca leaves home to move in with her boyfriend two miles down the road – she is nervous, obsessive and grumpy.

So Rebecca’s suggestion, that she might take in Milton Farnsworth as a lodger for his three more weeks in the former fishing village, is unwelcome, intrusive and frightening.

But, aware that her behaviour has become downright peculiar, Margaret agrees, and while she’s never met anyone like Milt, he CERTAINLY has never met anyone like her.

Gradually the pair discover a mutual bond, and as the play subtly moves through its unpredictable tale to its perhaps predictable end, the audience is exposed to a complex story.

It requires exceptional and totally realistic acting, and that’s just what Nick Holloway’s cast provides at the Swan.

Company newcomer Lucy Monaghan is the caring but trapped daughter, wittily describing the Daily Mail as a “danger of death” manual for the neurotic.

Colin Martin returns to the Swan as Milton, a bear of a man whose obsession with a (fictitious) seascape painter who died on the Titanic is the reason for his British sojourn.

Mags Chadbourne turns in another extraordinary performance as Margaret, capturing the terror, delight, reticence and determination of the woman who has hidden the truth of her life from herself for more than three decades, and who can’t believe that the chance of change could possibly be for the good.

Both she and Colin Martin use every sinew of their bodies to evoke the crippling shyness and scared excitement of two people who think they might be falling in love, at a time of life when they, and everyone around them, has written them off.

Again the Swan company has shown itself to be among the finest in the region, knocking many “professional” productions into a cocked hat.

The play continues until Saturday 25th January, nightly at 7.45.


Posted in Reviews on .