Sarah Kempton in the role of Doris and Kieran Buckeridge as George embark on two extremely challenging roles in Same Time, Next Year. We watch time passing along with changing attitudes to money, life, politics and religion spanning twenty-five years, the actors fulfilling these years in under two hours, with strong conviction, clarity, humour and passion.
However, the one thing that remains static throughout their lives is passion and a strong physical connection between them. As many women tend to do throughout the years Doris changes her hairstyle quite dramatically upon each meeting reflecting the era that the couple is living in.
A guest cottage in Northern California plays host for the entire performance of Same Time, Next Year. Starting in 1951 spanning over six acts ending in 1975. The couple first embarks on a one night stand after a chance meeting in a restaurant their affair continues and spans over twenty-four years.
The rich, funny and heart-rendering script by Bernard Slade combined with Kempton and Buckeridge’s credible romantic chemistry on stage. Somehow allowed the audience to feel empathy towards the couple even though is having an affair. Adultery has been deemed a sin yet without physically seeing their lives beyond Northern California it was easier to believe that their spouses didn’t seem to matter as much as they should have.
Set designer Bek Palmer creates a passionate bedroom scene from the outset. Amid the dishevelled sheets, passionately discarded clothes and flung shoes. The aftermath of the night before is all the audience need to see to know what has previously taken place between the couple. Palmer’s attention to detail speaks a thousand words in this initial bedroom scene and throughout the play.
Director Michael Cabot brings the comedic, heart-rendering and life-changing affair to life. With Doris’s changing fashion and maturity through returning to education. Along with several well placed life-changing events where the character’s delivery caught me by surprise and took my breath away. Alongside George becoming disillusioned with money and wealth.
Sadly the auditorium was fairly quiet this evening. Under no circumstances was this a reflection of the quality in the production and the cast didn’t falter in their performances. Same Time, Next Year certainly deserves to play to a full house. It is truly outstanding all around and I would highly recommend going to see it at Theatre Royal Winchester or check out the link below to see if they are performing locally near you.
Photo credit Sheila Burnett