Last Saturday night Stuart and I went to see Dave Eldridge's play In Basildon at the Queen's Theatre in glitzy Hornchurch.
Full disclosure: Dave is a mate of ours so we wouldn't say anything bad about his play, right? Well, we wouldn't need to - it was great - and very funny - full of jokes about Essex (from a man who should know - Dave is from Romford!)
The action takes place in a house in Basildon, Essex and the family are gathered around the deathbed of poor old Uncle Len. Only Len's sisters Maureen and Doreen are not speaking. They haven’t in years. And it looks like the other family members, family, and neighbours are heading in the same direction. Everyone seems hell-bent on making a drama out of a crisis.
The play is a joyously celebration of family. But at a time when family is most keenly exposed; when someone is about to 'pass on'. It is a time of tears, jokes, faux concern, petty rivalries, bold confessions, competitive grieving, passive-aggressive bitching, continual arguing and the odd catfight. Full of swearing, blistering one-liners and the odd political insight. All over a ham sandwich spread.
And then... then… it is time to read the will. Oh dear, oh dear...
From the opening soundtrack of Basildon's finest Alison Moyet, Depeche Mode and Yazoo to the closing blackout we were laughing. And you can't say that of many plays - written by a mate or not!