AN inept journalist combined with a frustrated author who is struggling to see the wood from the trees, produces not just the right chemistry, but also much hilarity in Better off Dead at the New Vic.

Alan Ayckbourn’s second play in the round in the space of a week, focuses on author Algy Waterbridge and his many obstacles in finishing his latest book.

Positioned in the quaint summerhouse of his rural Yorkshire home, Algy tries his hardest to keep his publishers happy but the distractions from his wife, PA and journalist Gus Crewes are too much to bear.

As Algy’s characters DCI Tommy Middlebrass (Russell Dixon) and DS Gemma Price (Naomi Petersen) come to life in front of the audience – and in the surroundings of the summer house – it’s hard for the author to separate true life from fiction.

Following persuasion from his PA Thelma Bostock (Liz Jadav), Algy agrees to meet with Gus Clewes, who has a faulty voice recorder and an even worse interviewing technique. The interview leads on to an unexpected article in the press – much at the despair of the tormented author.

The whole scene his simply hilarious and Leigh Symonds as Gus is just superb!

A visit from Algy’s publisher later follows bringing the dreaded news that his books aren’t doing so well and the future looks grim.

As Algy contemplates his next steps, the will to fight back and finish his book emerges, along with hauntings from one of his most long standing characters.

Christopher Godwin is not only believable, but precise and genius in his deliverance of Algy – an absolute joy to watch.

Better Off Dead is one to watch at the New Vic – open your mind to that of an author’s and enjoy!

Better Off Dead is at the New Vic until October 27. For more details go to Baba’s What’s ON.


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