by Neil Simon
13 November – 15 December
“Maybe I don’t have to become a writer. I’ll just set up seats in the living room.”
The final play in Simon’s quasi-autobiographical trilogy (preceded by Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues) continues the story of young Eugene Jerome. Now an aspiring comedy writer with dreams of radio stardom, he’s struggling to understand the dynamics of sex and of family relationships.
It’s 1949, and Eugene and his brother-cum-writing partner are stuck in the wilds of Brooklyn, with their philandering father, disillusioned mother, and unreconstructed socialist grandfather. Meanwhile his aunt has ‘married well’ and lives the good life on Park Avenue, inciting resentment in her less-fortunate relations. When the boys use their family as fodder for their comedy scripts, the fallout is intense.
This hard-scrabble, working-class Jewish household is a seething mass of passive-aggressive resentments, yet Simon mines the incessant baiting and bickering that substitutes for demonstrative affection with truth, humanity and genuine humour.
Simon’s reverie is bittersweet and nostalgic, but never sentimental. Charting the end of childhood, the closing of one era and the beginning of another, this play is not so much a story of a young man leaving home as of a mother who must stay behind.
“Simon may be the greatest comedy writer of the 20th century” Chicago Critic
creative & production team
Director Rosane McNamara
Set Designer Alan Walpole
Sound Designer David Cashman
Assistant Director Martin Kelly
Production Manager Louise Fischer
Stage Manager Jo Jewett
Lights and Sound Operator Ricci Costa
Les Asmussen, Patrick Holman, Brett Heath, Suzann James, Susan Jordan, Simon Lee
Previews (13 & 14 November) 7:30pm
Thursday – Saturday 7:30pm
Saturday 15 December 2pm only
Main image: © mandritoiu/Adobe Stock