CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


> Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Lunchtime theatre at its best, Yardsale is a one-woman play with a minimum of plot and props. But there is nothing miniature about Arnold Wesker's devastating exploration of the misfortunes befalling a middle-aged American who arrives home a little late, only to discover that her world has fallen apart.

Nothing melodramatic is needed. The facts, just a few of them at that, speak for themselves. Not too much time is wasted on explanations either. The dramatist has enough confidence in his audience to know that we can fill in the gaps with our imagination. The idea that the man has gone is conveyed with beautiful economy and simplicity just by never letting him appear, and the dramatist knows better than to hold out false hopes of his return.

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What matters are Stephanie's reactions, and Judi Daykin knows exactly how to convey them.

In an accent that has a trans-Atlantic twang, she expresses anger, resentment and self-justification. She finds relief in attacking the man who has left her and the other woman who has him in tow.

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Yardsale is a drama of speech and thoughts, and humour, irony, hard-bitten sarcasm and growing self-awareness are what give this play real stature.

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