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The Sunshine Boys (Oldham)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Sunshine Boys – Willie Clark and Al Lewis; a Vaudeville comedy duo who reunite for a one off TV performance celebrating comic legends. Willie (Robert Pickavance) is living in a shabby hotel  but is constantly looking for work, much to the frustration of his despairing nephew and agent, Ben (Dominic Gately). Scouring the Varity weekly, hassling Ben about commercials, musicals, anything that will keep him working. Al (David Fielder) is retired; living out in New Jersey with his daughter and enjoying a peaceful life.

Bitter, cantankerous and living in the past and despite agreeing to appear live with his old partner, Willie is unable to let past grievances lie and work harmoniously with Al. His old comedy partner, on the other hand is willing to co-operate and perform one last time but becomes exasperated with Willie’s erratic high octane behaviour.

Superbly acted, this Neil Simon classic is a delight. Highly entertaining and amusing, the dialogue is laced with pathos, sarcasm and wit from a bygone era that never fails to deliver. Pickavance is a delight to watch skilfully capturing the essence of a previously successful actor slowly descending in to dementia unable to face up to retired life. Fielder and Pickavance’s comic timing is flawless and their interaction with Gately a real delight.

Filling the auditorium with sunshine, this production has true quality and is a testament to the quality of Simon’s work. Such a shame it is only a short run!

- Ruth Lovett

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