The strained marriage of Al (Rob Angell) and Bet (Wendi Peters) reaches a turning point with a holiday in Paris that might bring them closer or end the relationship. The script, by writer and director John Godber is warm and also very funny but the subjects from which he draws humour (French plumbing!) show that the play is ageing badly.
Often he also shies away from emotional depth. So, rather than examine the thousand small things that put a relationship under pressure, Godber attributes the problems of the couple to Al’s feeling of emasculation following redundancy -which is valid but all too neat and tidy. The absence of background information makes it hard to accept that a single night in Paris can have such a profound effect.
Pip Leckenby achieves a coup with a set that takes us from the banal surroundings of the couple’s home to a wonderfully garish interpretation of the City of Lights.
Where the production really shines is with the performances. Both Angell and Peters are excellent – completely convincing as a couple worn down by circumstances beyond their control. Each is capable of getting the maximum impact from the script and of conveying the frustration and disgust with their partner and themselves.
April in Paris is an undemanding evening and great fun; a shame that more is not asked of the cast to stretch their abilities.