Show: Tea Time
Event: Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works
Location: Bombed Out Church, Liverpool
Date: Saturday July 16 2021
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Age Rating: 12+
Performers: Samantha Power, Denice Hope & Elise Carman
Production Company: G&J Productions
Writer: Graham Edgington
Director: James Edgington
This is our theatre review for Tea Time at Liverpool‘s Bombed Out Church. Now, this is the tenth show of Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works 2021. So, let’s take a look at Tea Time!
So, we’re at the family home of mother Joan and daughter April. Now, April is at work, but she remains the focus due to a serious incident at work. And one that is resulting in her manager filing court proceedings. We know of this because Joan explains the situation to her somewhat gossiping neighbour Sharon. (Though Joan does preface her tales with “I can’t say anything!” before humorously and immediately spilling all the beans.) Joan also notes that April has a history of exaggerating or fabricating similar tales, so her credibility is somewhat suspect. But maybe this time she’s telling the truth, so who knows? Sharon, meanwhile, has her own problems due to an ongoing feud with her neighbour and brother Gordon.
This is in preparation for the evening’s teatime, with Joan preparing food for herself, April and her husband. However, in the run-up to the family meal, we see and hear more from Joan, Sharon and April. Now, bear in mind that due to the seriousness of Apil’s case, nobody should know aside from her and Joan. But can they rely on Sharon to keep shtum about April’s legal situation? And what else might we learn that could raise tensions within the three-person dynamic? Furthermore, what impact could these events have on their teatime?
So, this show was one that I was greatly looking forward to, due to the potential intrigue of the family-neighbour situation. And it did not disappoint, though it would have the audience laughing to a great extent throughout. Refreshingly, though, the humour was largely subtle and underplayed, which often (and certainly did here) makes the lines funnier. Sharon’s well-meaning nature makes her likeable, yet also someone whose word is difficult to believe. And that makes for a great character, because there’s a sense of unpredictability from her as a result.
We don’t see much of April until the second half, though her ongoing case makes her somewhat more serious and surprisingly mature. This maturity adds to us wondering whether, on this occasion, we’re actually right to believe April’s side. Which leaves Joan, a mother with whom many in the audience could probably relate. And that is due to her clear love for her daughter, as well as her desire to please everybody. But she also can’t help but divulge as much information as possible, and in great detail too. When you also add in Sharon’s confusion at Joan’s points, it makes for some scenes being very amusing indeed. To me, though, the familiar dynamic is the best aspect of the show. And that’s because this could be anyone’s kitchen in any home. The upshot is that it all feels authentic, which in turn enhances the entertainment value of this hour-long production.
Tea Time is a thoroughly enjoyable show that delves into a variety of topics in a manner that ensures continuous laughter and attention from the audience. If this show returns to other theatres, I definitely suggest checking this out. And look out for the twists in the plot, as some will be a big surprise.
Target Audience: 12+
Content: Infrequent Sex References
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
Tea Time Further Links
Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works 2021 continues at the Bombed Out Church until Sunday July 18 2021. So, to purchase tickets, please click here.
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