SOMETIMES it's good to have an outsider's peek into what your own family life may once have been.

Spring and Port Wine focuses on the family life of the Cromptons, and boy have they got problems.

It's typical late 1960s-early 1970s stuff, with the patriarch of the family dominating the every move of his wife and offspring. Only they are waking up to the fact that they don't necessarily have to put up with it any more.

It's a slow burner, as many plays and films of its time were, and maybe its messages are a little dated, but the morals within Spring and Port Wine are ones that we all maybe need to be reminded of on occasion.

Naughton's work, similarly to Jim Cartwright's, is always popular at the Octagon and, as such, this is almost a sell-out before it has got going, so I could be nasty here if it was warranted, but there's no need.

Paul Simpson, as chief son Harold, is always good value and adds comedy to a very solid performance.

Des O'Malley is suitably amusing as hapless brother Wilfred, while Eve Robertson is aptly solid as sister Florence, the one member of the family who has inherited her father's traits.

Joanna Higson, recently in Road, is excellent as Hilda, who teases out all the family's problems simply by refusing to eat a herring.

Julie Riley is extremely convincing as typical put-upon 60s mother Daisy, who has the intelligence to know what is going on, but enough devotion to keeping the family on the straight and narrow not to question too much.

Russell Dixon is strong as the dominant father Rafe - put it this way, I would have been scared of him.

David Crellin is good as Flo's knowing husband-to-be Arthur, while Mary Cunningham as the source of many of the problems, nosy neighbour Betsy Jane reminds me of some of the people who lived on the same street as my family in the 70s.

Director Noreen Kershaw has followed up Road with another sure-fire winner and the theatre-in-the-round stage set really works as a typical period house.

Go along and have a few glasses.