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Waiting in the Wings

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The fiftieth anniversary production of Waiting in the Wings fits well into Hampstead's Pentameters Theatre, creating the lounge of the 'The Wings home for retired actresses' in cosy surroundings.

It is the cast of older ladies who really make this piece what it is, and so hard to revive. The levels of their performances vary, but the piece is held together by the relationship between Juliet Aykroyd and Frances Cuka as the warring actresses who overcome their differences after 30 years of fighting over the same man.

Coward's humour shows itself to be timeless, with some particularly funny lines littered amongst the ladies' obsessive reflections on playing ingénue roles in their youth, the fact that they are now at the mercy of their charity home's committee and the increasing senility of those around them.

The performances of the older cast are impressively truthful, with Juliet Aykroyd particularly impressive in the third act as she faces her absentee son. The supporting cast around the ladies, however, more often feel like caricatures, there to prop them up.

This is a Coward comedy fifty years on which still manages to get the laughs and pokes fun at the insecurities of the acting profession. By actually putting a cast of older actresses on stage, it may also make us question our preconceptions about older members of society.


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