Plaza Suite, Swan Theatre Yeovil

NEIL Simon’s three-piece Plaza Suite, which opened in New York 50 years ago, is a trio of playlets about marriage, all set in the same suite of the luxury hotel overlooking Central Park.

A wife tries to celebrate her anniversary by booking in to the same suite where she and her husband spent their wedding night, but the cracks in their marriage are wider and deeper than she has allowed herself to admit.

A small town girl meets her old boy­friend, now a famous Hollywood producer, and unexpectedly reveals what her own marriage is like, as he brags about his three divorces.

A couple has booked the Green Room downstairs for their daughter’s wedding, but she’s got cold feet and locked herself in the bathroom. When it turns out that she is frightened her marriage will turn out like theirs, it’s time for a bit of serious re-examination.

Beryl Snadden directs the three plays at the Swan until 21st July with her usual eye for detail, and they are played on a cleverly opulent set designed by Mike Robbins.

The Swan company has built up an enviable reputation for its versatility and for the depth and range of its productions, but one thing they don’t have is understudies, as the audience heard on the traditional Monday charity night (this time raising funds for the Apollo Swim Club.) So when the leading lady in the first play, Vivienne Evans, fell and injured her shoulder and arm four days before the first night, it was action stations to find a replacement.

Diana Somerville, who was working backstage on the production, stepped gamely into the role, and learned what she could over the weekend. While her unfamiliarity inevitably slowed the proceedings, she brought out all the pathos and desperation of Karen Nash, confronted by a husband who wanted something new. Brian Williams was a mercurial and  unpredictable Sam, and together they exemplified the pain of a couple for whom bickering and boredom have replaced affection and passion.

Swan newcomer Daniel Mountford is a real find, making the schemingly suave producer Jesse Kiplinger an all too recognisable creature, and once again Alison Maynard-Griffin used all her comic timing to bring Murial Tate from Tenafly .

Brian Williams returns as the increasingly frustrated father in the final play, with Tanya Ogden discombobulating before our eyes.

Derek Bourne give another trio of his now famous Swan cameo roles, as the bellhop and waiter.

The plays are dated in their references  ( a dollar was a BIG tip in those days)  but timeless in their humour and in their skeweringly acute depiction of the human condition as relationships unravel.


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