Life Support

Simon Gray has written a dull play which fails to captivate, although you are kept in suspense as to whether Gwen is wife, will regain consciousness.

This play provides some insight on what it must be like for people in this situation, talking to their partner hoping they will come out of the coma knowing it could take years or that they may not recover at all.

'Life Support' is touching at times, but still lacks the ingredient of powerful writing to really get into the characters and reveal their true feelings competently.

Alan Bates as 'JG' the writer, puts in a marvelous and convincing performance as the tormented and suffering husband, reflecting on his turbulent marriage and revealing secrets kept from his wife. Georgina Hale as 'Gwen' must have a difficult time acting this drama, as she spends most of the time lying in bed with her eyes closed, speaking only occasionally, when her husband is imagining she is speaking to him. The other cast members perform adequately, Frank McCusker as 'Pat' an hospital social worker who is there to help and advise people like 'JB'. Carole Nimmons as 'Julie' JB's secretary and Nickolas Grace as 'Jack', JB's gay brother, an actor who only bothers to contact him when he wants money.

The popular press are not too impressed with 'Life Support' either. BILL HAGERTY of THE NEWS OF THE WORLD shares my opinion saying " Alan Bates turns in a superb performance, but even he can't give the kiss of life to a terminally dull play". NICHOLAS DE JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD feels the same , he wrote wittily the play was "washed up in the West End - looking more dead than alive". However, JANE EDWARDES of TIME OUT likes the play and praises Alan Bates saying "Like most of Gray's plays, this is a one man show and Alan Bates is at his crumpled best as the raddled old writer."

'Life Support' does have its moments, but lasting one hour 40 minutes without an interval you are glad when it ends. I don't expect it to have a long run!

(Darren Dalglish)

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