Down to the Salisbury Playhouse yesterday evening for the preview of "Drowning on Dry Land" by Alan Ayckbourn. The play, described here, is a comedy/drama about the emptiness of celebrity. The hero, Charlie Conrad, has become a celebrity for being a complete failure at everything he does. The play observes his dysfunctional life and in particular his collapsing relationship with his "footballer's wife" Linzi. This soon leads to his moment of entrapment by Marsha Bates, children's entertainer (of meagre talent). Soon Charlie has fallen from grace at the hands of the tabloids, and Marsha is the new celebrity nonentity.
Although a slight piece in theme, the acting was impeccable. The play could almost serve as a textbook example of playwriting. Plotting, pace, dialogue and character seem perfectly formed and audience attention is sustained throughout.
Since the characters are very much archetypes, the actors are free to make them slightly larger than life, which contributes to the knockabout energy of the production. Charlie Conrad is perhaps the most difficult part, as the character is basically talentless: his celebrity being rooted in a generically bland 'niceness'. Stuart Laing carries it off beautifully though.
We had plans for microlight flying with Airbourne Aviation, Popham airfield on Wednesday (Sept 3rd). However, we got a call Wednesday morning confirming that the field was waterlogged so the whole thing has been cancelled for the duration. As I write, it's steadily pouring down again.