Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present Review

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Naomi Petersen as Grace and Jamie Baughan as Adrian.

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is a play which takes you back in time, detailing four birthdays over four decades for one family.

Starting with Micky’s 80th birthday the scene centres around his and wife Meg’s living room. After several discussions between themselves – including Meg asking if her beloved is “still dry” – son Adrian and love interest Grace arrive for birthday tea.

Within minutes of their arrival, Adrian heads out to see to his car and in his absence dad, Micky persists on warning the timid, churchgoing Grace of his sons sexual demands – stating they have ruined previous relationships.

Tales of the well mannered Adrian are told, much to Meg’s embarrassment, with Micky branding his son a Jekyll and Hyde character.

The play heads off in another direction shortly after with Meg’s 60th birthday party at the fore of both on and off stage action.

Adrian’s 30th birthday brings about more surprises and also negates some of the accusations his father had previously had Grace, and the audience believe.

At this point Naomi Peterson is in costume for her third character of the evening – a bubbly call girl who has been sent to visit Adrian by his uncle as a birthday surprise. The pair sup vodka in a humorous scene which is boosted further with the arrival of Adrian’s parents.

The final scene goes back to Adrian’s teenage years where more innocent liaisons with his sister’s friend Hope – again played by the ever convincing Naomi Petersen – are soon construed to be something else.

Jamie Baughan is genius as Adrian while both Rusell Dixon (Micky) and Jemma Churchill (Meg) are a genuine delight to watch. In fact the acting in this play was simply faultless!

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is a true classic Alan Ayckbourn play which will not only make you laugh, but it will make you think as you spiral through the years of the family before you…

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is at the New Vic until 26 October. For more information see here.

**Read Baba’s Review of Seasons Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn here.