April in Paris

Reviewed by Sue Ellis of the Eckington Leader

April in Paris

The team of Philip Hadley and Margaret Thompson bring a depth and empathy to the characters of husband and wife Al and Bet, a Yorkshire couple who lead a quiet and humdrum life until Bet wins a romantic break, the prize being a trip to Paris.

The unemployed Al, whose hobby is painting, badly, is reluctant to go on the trip but once aboard the North Sea Ferry from Hull, he enthusiastically takes advantage of the all you can eat buffet whilst Bet dances the night away at the disco.

In Paris they visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysses and Notre Dame, all of which involves a lot of walking as Al stubbornly refuses to use the Metro.

This being their first experience of life abroad their resulting troubles (the predictable mix-up with the ordering of food by Bet when she tries out her limited phrasebook French and Al's total confusion with a French toilet), all lead to a variety of comic situations and is an amusing take on the English abroad.

April in Paris

Once back home, we see how profound an effect their trip has had on the way they relate to life and each other.

The two-handed play, a first for the City Players, directed by Philip Mantle, explores the two characters through a series of exchanges, droll humour and put-downs which are all very recognisable and thoroughly convincing.

Both actors showed their talent for subtle visual comedy and the strength of the performances and skilled interaction between them made this an exceedingly enjoyable performance with some very well chosen back-ground music adding to the atmosphere; in particular, the very poignant and appropriate 'Ne me quitte pas' written by Jacques Brel and which is better known in its English adaptation by Rod McKuen as 'If you go away'.

Another excellent production by the City Players which had the audience laughing out loud.

Ellis, Susan. "Paris sets the scene for City Players". Eckington Leader, Nov 2009. Print.