ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

WHEN WE ARE MARRIED Written by J.B.Priestley Directed by Keith Dalby-Oldham Hyde Little Theatre “When We Are Married”, is a play centred around three Yorkshire couples who discover, as they are about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, that they were never legally married. This play explores the Edwardian principles of marriage and the social embarrassment that “living in sin” would have. In this humorous play some of the characters are free to re-establish their identities and relish in the thoughts of a new start if they are no longer married to their spouse. For the hen-pecked Herbert Soppitt it provides the chance to assert himself against his domineering wife, Clara. For two of the women, Annie Parker and Maria Helliwell it offers the prospect of being released from a life with stuffy Councillor Albert Parker and errant Alderman J. Helliwell. The fun of this play is down to the characters that are created by the actors. There was a nice chemistry between the couples and this was backed up by some fine performances by the cameo role players. Paul Wood, as the downtrodden Soppitt transforms himself from a man who looks defeated by marriage into a man who now wears the trousers in the relationship. There were subtle looks of exasperation, of tongue in cheek humour from Paul throughout which made the audience feel sorry for his situation and yet rejoice in his assertiveness by the end. And Jean Ratcliffe was delightful as his bullying wife. There was a nice switch in character, after her husband becomes more assertive, Clara is open mouthed accepting of her new position within the marriage. Catherine Connolley, as Maria Helliwell, was a believable matriarch of the household. Keeping the accounts of the house upto date and brandishing the keys. She especially delighted in slamming these down on the table as she prepared to leave her husband due to his perceived errant assignations with paramour Lottie Grady. There was a nice rise and fall to the delivery of dialogue as Catherine showed how she was wrestling with the situation she found her character in and how to preserve her dignity. Dave Price as the respectable Alderman/husband confidently guided the assembled group through the course of the evening, giving orders and trying to make the best of the situation they all found themselves in. At times, the volume in dialogue dropped and so some became hard to hear. This was also the case with a few of the other characters. Sue Nuttall provided the calm after the storm type of character, as Annie Parker. She