Where and When
5th – 8th June 1996 @ The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne
The comic poet of middle class life, always so very funny, goes deeper and darker in this triumphant play about a housewife named Susan who is married to a boring cleric named George. After getting knocked out by stepping on the tooth end of a garden rake, Susan experiences hilarious hallucinations in which her oppressive and boring everyday life is replaced by a fantasy in which she is an ideal wife and mother with an ideal family. While her real family treats her with condescension and apathy, her fantasy family dresses in lovely white, always drinks champagne, lives in a stately home and tells her that she is wonderful. Eventually, the fantasy family becomes nightmarish and Susan begins to realize that she is going mad.
- Susan – Eileen Dunnachie
- Bill – Barry Baynton
- Gerald – Simon Jackson
- Muriel – Ann Pond
- Rick – Chris Scadden
- Andy – Tony Willmett
- Tony – Tony Feltham
- Lucy – Rebecca Gunnell
- Director – Richard Neal
- Stage Manager – Chrissie Walthen
- ASM – Jan Stevenson
- Set Design – Chrissie Walthen and Richard Neal
- On the Book – Carolyn Hewitt
- Set Construction – Eddie Colton, Saliann Colton and The Company
- Photography – Eddie Colton
- Programme and Publicity – Richard Neal
- Costumes – Maragret Pope and Val Mantle
- Make-up – Penny Scotford
- Call boy – Matthew Gill
Laugh and the world wonders if it should ….
Alan Ayckbourn has an uncanny ability to take a serious subject and give ita veneer of humour, resulting in his audiences laughing while at the same time, feeling that they should be doing anything but.
In Woman in Mind he has taken as his subject the descent into madness of a woman who no longer sees any purpose in her existence, and in the marathon title role of Susan – she is onstage throughout – Eileen Durnachie gave a powrful and moving performance.
Her family no longer need her and after a close encounter with a garden rake causes a bump on the head, she begins to hallucinate and conjures up another family where she is the star attraction and not just a nuisance who is responsible for everyone’s misfortunes.
Reality and immagination begin to blur until eventually everybody – and the family doctor – meets up for the first time in an hilarious, inventive but ultimately tragic climax.
This is director Richard Neal’s first main production for the company and an excellent job he has made of it, although I should have liked to have seen the pace a little quicker during the firt half our or so.