‘A Night on the Tiles’ was written in 1987, by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery. Frank won two awards for his playwriting, the major award whilst still only 21. The play is showing at the Old Mill Theatre, Mends Street, South Perth until the 5th December. Evening shows at 8.00 and one matinee at 2.00 pm on Sunday November 29th.
The lights are raised to reveal the neat backyard of a working class house in South Wales. Granddad (Ray Condy) staggers out of the backdoor in his long johns, scratches his ‘testimonials’, and then sways his way into the outside toilet. Shortly afterwards, his grandsons, Gareth (Jordan Sibley) and Kenneth (Blaine Slater), try in vain to get into the toilet, however Granddad is stuck. The boys call for their officious mother, Doris (Erin Hutchinson) who is cleaning the house in preparation for Gareth’s marriage later that day, to aid her father’s escape.
Quiet and diligent Gareth is nursing a massive hangover from his stag night, the previous night. His fiancée, 3-months pregnant Shirley (Bonnie Coyle), is a little dubious as to the baby’s paternity. Permanently inebriated Granddad is confused over which of the two grandsons she has actually married. Poor Dad (Hywel Williams) just quietly tolerated the shambles in the house.
Mrs Morris (Rosemary Longhurst) is a gossipy, meddlesome neighbour, who is amazed to learn the ‘facts’ following the recent death of their old aunt, who ‘belched at will!’ – but who was Will?
This is really a solid drama, very well structured, with tension, good dialogue and the added bonus of several hilarious episodes. There is plenty of humour sprinkled throughout, so one can see why Frank Vickery was once described as the Alan Ayckbourn of the valleys.
Then there is director Hywel Williams, Wales’s finest deport – yes, they were pleased to see him go – I hate to say it, but we were lucky to get him. Hywel’s excellent directing of the strong cast, meant everyone got into the swing and atmosphere of the play. The Welsh accents were most satisfactory. A particularly good performance by Erin Hutchinson as the mother.
The set (Hywel William and Phil Barnett) – which is ‘built like a brick dunny!’ - was most realistic. A garden scene is always difficult to produce convincingly, but this was outstanding. The paving slabs (Tim Prosser) were so good that I had to touch them before I believed that they were simply painted onto the stage floor. Minor problem, in the night scenes, the realistic pebble-dashed walls became transparent with the strong kitchen light. The lighting was well aligned and operated (Lewis Johnson), however the night scenes would have benefited from a little more blue flood, as looking at the action in the dark was tiring to watch.
Not a farce, but a very good comedy / drama. An excellent production that deserved the full house.
Hot Room Theatre Group
in association with Horizon Theatre presents