Let It Be Me, Swan Theatre Yeovil

FORMER nurse and now vicar Carey Jane Hardy wrote her deeply-felt play Let It Be Me at the turn of the century,  and now it comes to Yeovil’s Swan Theatre in a perfectly-paced production, directed by Brian Williams.

Amy, about to be 40, lives with the aunt who brought her up after the death of her parents, in the same house where she spent her childhood. Aunt Sylvia is losing her mind and, in her dementia, doesn’t recognise the woman  Amy has become, at the same time fretting for her “Amy,” a child still on its way home from school.

The fragile equilibrium of the house is thrown when antiquarian bookseller Gregory arrives to inspect an uncut volume of Ivanhoe, and he and Amy fall in love. Amy is determined that Aunt Sylvia will live out her increasingly confused and frightened days in the home where everything is familiar, but the price is that she and everyone who visits must play the game … that she is not Amy but a kind friend living with Sylvia.

It is the sort of situation that could affect any of us, and because it is a play in which nothing really happens, it depends on delicate observation and skilful timing from all the performers. Brian Williams and his cast have carefully avoided any temptation into sentimental melodrama, and the writer ducks the predictable “solution” endings.

That might all sound a bit hopeless and gloomy, but Let It Be Me manages a wry humour and the sort of realism you never get in what purports to be “reality” on television.

The exceptional cast is led by Rachael Alexander as Amy and Vivienne Evans as Sylvia, with Diana Somerville as Trixie and Rachel Butler as Kate, Tyrone Trower as Gregory and Dave King as cousin Colin.

The show continues until Saturday 19th November.


Posted in Reviews on .