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Play about getting older will be performed in Hornchurch

17:56 21 September 2016

Robin Hooper plays Aylott and William Hoyland plays Cooper.	Picture: Mark Sepple

Robin Hooper plays Aylott and William Hoyland plays Cooper. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

With an ageing population, getting older is a topic often discussed in terms of the economy and practicality.

William Hoyland and Robin Hooper star in the play. Picture: Mark Sepple.William Hoyland and Robin Hooper star in the play. Picture: Mark Sepple.

But as you get closer to the final destination on the conveyor belt of life, how does it feel to approach the end?

Whatever your views on life after death, many of us will wonder whether you are more prepared when you are older, or is it just as daunting, if not more so, when you are closer to it?

A Month of Sundays, a play written by Bob Larbey – better know for writing sitcom favourites As Time Goes By and The Good Life with John Esmonde – explores themes of physical and mental deterioration through comedy and wit. Director Russell Bolam maintains that while the play, which will be performed at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, deals with dark topics, it is still a great night out.

“It sounds like a depressing subject, but it’s anything but,” he said.

“Me and the cast have fallen a bit in love with it since rehearsals.

“It is very thought provoking, moving as well as funny.”

The play was first performed in the West End nearly 30 years ago and was well received by audiences and critics alike – it went on to win several Evening Standard comedy awards.

Russell said that although there is pressure to “do the play justice”, the fact that it hasn’t been performed for a long time is a good thing.

“We hope the play will speak to people,” he added. “Bob was ahead of his time, the play was ahead of its time.

“I have a feeling it will be a tad more relevant now than it was 30 years ago.”

The play centres on the relationship between two men in a nursing home.

Cooper rails against his ageing body, but remains proud of not having “lost his marbles”, while his friend Aylott is increasingly concerned about losing his.

Wit and humour keep their worries at bay and the men spend their time flirting with the nurses and fantasising about escaping to Switzerland.

Described as a “bit of a double act”, the duo entertain each other, get up to mischief and have lots of fun.

But when Cooper discovers that his grandson no longer wants to see him, and Aylott’s worst fears are realised, they know a turning point has been reached. Is it ever enough to keep treating life as a comedy and if not, where does he go from there?

“Bob writes brilliantly for the older voice and it is great to work on a play where older issues are at the forefront,” said Russell.

“In western culture we neglect the elderly and don’t hear enough of their stories.

“We are all going to get old one day if we are lucky – the world is a bit too youth centric.”

A Month of Sundays runs from Friday, September 23 to Saturday, October 15. Tickets are priced from £12.50. To book, call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.

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