Friday, 8 July 2011

Meet the Churchills

Once again, we were the guests of the wonderful folk at Circa Theatre last night. Meet the Churchills is a new play by Paul Baker. Set in the drawing room of Randolph Churchill's 18th century house at Stour, Suffolk, we meet four members the Churchill family on the occasion of Winston Churchill's 88th birthday. What would for many be a joyous occasion was instead described as a 'mending' day, and it became apparent as the drama unfolded just what was to be mended: the family dynamics. Not quite putting the 'fun' into dysfunctional, there were clearly many issues influencing the Churchill family and their relationships.

Rather than celebrating his 88th birthday, Churchill simply wanted to die, a fact he stated boldly several times during the day along with other lamentations about his family and current state of being. While his physical body was weak and wheelchair-bound, Churchill's tongue remained flexed and razor-sharp, throwing out many toxic one-liners which transparently illustrated what he was thinking. However, his wife, Clementine Churchill, kept up line for line, which was clearly no mean feat.

The play is very well performed, if a little drawn out at times. Light entertainment was provided by the somewhat troubled character of Lady Audley, Sarah Churchill, and the narrative is woven together by a fictitious historian, Dr Stephen Jenkins. Meet the Churchills is currently showing at Circa One until 16 July.

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