Director: Gordon House
Music: David Chilton
Company: BBC Radio 4
Transmission date: 13/09/08 @ 2.30pm
Dennis: Stephen Critchlow
Vera: Samantha Spiro
Marjorie: Auriol Smith
Neil: Chris Pavlo
Pam: Alison Pettitt
The play is set in a garage and garden over four successive birthdays. Neil and Pam arrive to buy a car from the technically inept Dennis and his wife Vera, who cares for Dennis’s over-bearing mother who shares the house with them.
Over the course of a year, we see the two couples fall apart. Neil and Pam’s relationship becomes increasingly bitter, not helped by Neil’s reliance on emotional and financial advice from the ill-equipped Dennis. Meanwhile, Vera is driven increasingly desperate by Dennis’s lack of attention and the constant jibes of his mother. Dennis, far from being evil, has absolutely no comprehension of what his wife is going through and marches cheerfully on oblivious to events around him. Vera is eventually driven into a catatonic state with Dennis still unable to understand what has happened to Vera or to even acknowledge a problem exists.
Just Between Ourselves is the first of what Alan Ayckbourn termed at the time his winter plays; three consecutive plays written for the first time during the Scarborough winter. Just Between Ourselves, in particular, presents a profound departure in tone for the playwright. The play was written between Christmas and the New Year during a harsh winter and Alan has noted this reflected on what he wrote; the play is one of the darkest of his entire canon.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd 2006
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