Wife Begins at Forty

Sheringham Little Theatre

The Summer Theatre Company's latest production is a bit of a slow starter, but once it gets into top gear it's racy, pacy comedy of the highest order.

Set in suburban Woking, it's a simple story about what happens when a marriage goes stale and the wife – approaching 40 – wants passion and excitement while her husband seems irredeemably content with his carpets and curtains and unchanging routine.

Vidar Nelson, playing the central character, George, is the Atlas who carries this play; he gives a wonderfully subtle, multi-layered performance which ranges from the acerbic and brooding to the sloshed and manic.

With Sophie Bevan as his wife Linda, they make for a brilliantly funny and touching final act; the sight of George in his underpants impersonating a bomber jet to the tune of the Dam Busters March, while trying to turn on Linda, is unforgettable.

Neil Woodman as teenage son Leonard is suitably gawky and insensitive to his parents' turmoil, while Roger Bingham as George's father, Bernard, plays a cuddly old duffer, with a few too many clichéd lines. Nick Wilkes and Penelope Rawlins play neighbours Roger and Betty – Nick an unreconstructed rake and Betty queen of the comforting platitudes.