REVIEW - Indiscretions

Bolton Little Theatre

Runs until Saturday

Indiscretions is the English translation of “Les Parents Terribles” by the French playwright, artist and poet Jean Cocteau. When it was first produced in Paris, the play scandalised audiences with its portrayal of diseased love infecting a bourgeois family in 1930s Paris. Even today with its soap-opera like circumstances, it still retains that power to shock.

The play centres on a string of mishaps focused on a shabbily middle-aged couple and their childish efforts to prevent their only son from finding happiness with a lower-class young bookbinder with the help of his jilted and cunning aunt. Under the skillful direction of Frances Clemmitt the highly talented cast manages to portray a family whose neuroses feed upon each other to alarming effect.

Elizabeth Flay as the Matriarch Yvonne is excellent, the self-dramatising woman who neglects husband George and throws her affections onto her own son. She manages to portray a character that you want to detest but just can’t help sympathising with.

Simon Mott as the defenceless husband George is also excellent and whose superb and skilful comic timing brought many of the laughs to the audience. Sam Cooper is brilliant as Michael who is trying to escape the suffocating love of his mother. His puppy like expressions of hurt and love brought out the innocence in the character. A great all round performance.

Natalie Crompton is absolutely superb as the jilted and “tidy” Aunt Leo, the only functioning adult among them who only lets her steely guard down in the crucial moments. An extremely polished and measured performance from this talented actress.

Victoria Tunnah is wonderful as Madeleine the lower-class love interest whose arrival brings some elements of farce and sense of the absurd to the story. Her interaction with every character was beautiful and quite mesmerising. This was a first class production in many ways and would not seem out of place on a professional stage. It’s hard to imagine in this day and age that after this play was first performed in 1938 it was subsequently banned due to the incestuous themes. Thank god it is still preformed today. Don’t miss out.

Jason Crompton