Perfect Days

Tuesday, 22 June, 1999

The show received good notices from its earlier runs and so I was looking forward to seeing the play myself. However, it did not live up to expectations. It has a plot that is very predictable and it is performed by a cast that do not click on stage. In fact the acting is dreadful for most of the play.

The play concerns Barbs, a hairdresser who is celebrating her 39th Birthday. However, she is now desperate for a baby and seeks ways of becoming pregnant quickly! She attempts to seduce her ex-husband, but before she can he reveals that he is having a baby by a much younger woman. Barbs also tries to persuade her gay hairdressing friend to donate sperm! And so the scene is set. Will Barbs get a baby she so craves? If so, who will be the father? For the next two and half-hours we are subjected to a series of mild comic scenes that are mostly predictable.

The acting is below par resulting in some unconvincing performances. Maybe the play is miss-cast, or maybe the fault lies with the direction? Siobhan Redmond as 'Barbs' is all over the place with her character in the first act. I found her very difficult to warm to. However, in the second act Siobhan's performance improved immensely, as she became less whimsical. John Katek as Brendan, the gay hairdresser, is totally out of sorts with the character. His campness felt so contrived! Jo Cameron Brown, as Barbs best friend 'Alice', gives a fair performance, but NICK LOPEZ as 'Grant', the lost young son of 'Alice' whom Barbs as an affair with, gives a wooden and clumsy performance. The other cast members Vincent Friel as 'Dave' and Ann Scott-Jones, as 'Sadie' barbs mother, are adequate.

The show has received mixed notices from the popular press. JEREMY KINGSTON of THE TIMES says "I did not find the play as good as its reputation suggests", but he goes on to say, "Redmond's lovely performance is funny, perceptive and involving". NICK CURTIS of THE EVENING STANDARD says the show "Perfect Days will most please those who like to get exactly what they expect."

In the right hands Perfect Days has the potential to be a very good play, sadly this production is in the wrong hands!

(Darren Dalglish)

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