22 May 2001 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Ian Ogilvy's A Slight Hangover was first produced, with Frank Findlay in the cast, around ten years ago. It has now been updated and is re-presented, with Ogilvy himself directing, at the Mill in Sonning. The play is set in 1985 and tells of two aging bohemian men living out their lives in the sun in the West Indies. Their pasts have been stormy and complex, not least because, for many years, they lived on the island as an apparent ménage a trois with Giselle, a fascinating but fiery woman who recently died.
Things become really interesting when Olga (
Emily Richard), Giselle's daughter, turns up and wants to know which of these men is her father. Olga’s attractive daughter ( Rae Baker), the image of Giselle, also wants to know which is her grandfather. The old men's agent ( Damien Goodwin) is also there, in from America, and forms a love interest for Olga's daughter. The last character is a camp hotel waiter ( Brian Godfrey) who makes good on an ancient “you must visit sometime” offer and ends up staying on after the cook walks out in a huff.
Up to the halfway point of
A Slight Hangover, you’d forgiven for believing that you were being set up for a standard farce - mistaken identities, missing trousers, deception and naughtiness. But Ogilvy's script doesn’t fall into such obvious territory. Instead, what we get is a well-turned series of revelations that give us a chance not only to laugh but also to consider the prejudices and conflicts suffered by those who choose to live outside society’s normal conventions. The main characters are well drawn and the final scene - as the two old men reveal their final secrets and explore their own relationship - is surprisingly touching and played with real control by Ian Burford and Donald Douglas. Most enjoyable.
The rest of the cast support the central characters well and provide a confident backdrop, with light relief, for the old men, but it is their characters and story that really dominate this play. I hope that this production receives wider exposure; it certainly deserves it.
- Robert Iles
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