Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Award-winning Suffolk writer’s radio comedy starring Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam challenges stereotypes of ‘babyboomer’ couples

PUBLISHED: 12:01 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 03 January 2018

Jan Etherington, pictured with Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam. Picture: MATT STRONGE

Jan Etherington, pictured with Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam. Picture: MATT STRONGE

Matt Stronge

A Suffolk writer, whose radio comedy about marriage starring Joanna Lumley received rave reviews, is now hoping to develop it into a series.

At the recording of the radio comedy, Suffolk writer Jan Etherington (seated), is pictured with Joanna Lumley, Roger Allam, Claire Jones (producer) and Nick Coupe (production assistant). Picture: JAN ETHERINGTON At the recording of the radio comedy, Suffolk writer Jan Etherington (seated), is pictured with Joanna Lumley, Roger Allam, Claire Jones (producer) and Nick Coupe (production assistant). Picture: JAN ETHERINGTON

Jan Etherington, who lives in Walberswick, said her play Conversations From a Long Marriage was intended to challenge stereotypical “babyboomer” portrayals of ageing couples.

It features Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam playing a couple who have been married for more than 40 years. Unlike the traditional portrayal of older couples, their characters, as children of the ‘60s are “free spirits, drawn together by their passion for music - and each other”.

In conversations held from the local cafe to their kitchen table, the couple cover such age related topics as her resentment of her new tri-focal glasses and fury at being lectured at by the dental hygienist, while he has a “dodgy knee” and is on statins.

However there are also discussions about going clubbing in Ibiza and how, inside, Lumley’s character is still “Dancing in the Street, with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas”

Joanna Lumley, pictured at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, stars in the comedy. Picture: NICK TIPPING PHOTOGRAPHY Joanna Lumley, pictured at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, stars in the comedy. Picture: NICK TIPPING PHOTOGRAPHY

The 30 minute show broadcast on BBC Radio Four on New Year’s Day – and has been met with rave reviews. Ms Etherington, who is also a volunteer tour guide at Southwold Lighthouse, said she received dozens of comments and texts after the show. One said: “It was brilliant. They sounded like a real married couple. She was just like me.” In a Mumsnet discussion, another fan added: “Anyone else listening?. Very funny, bit too realistic?!”

Ms Etherington, a multi- award-winning comedy writer and journalist, has been married for 33 years to Gavin Petrie, with whom she has written radio and TV series including Second Thoughts, Faith in the Future and Next of Kin. She said: “I wrote the comedy because I was tired of the stereotypical ‘babyboomer’ portrayals, of those who have ‘become old’ none of which reflected the ‘still the same’ attitude in me – and my contemporaries.”

Following the positive reaction to Conversations From a Long Marriage, her first solo-scripted half hour comedy, Ms Etherington is “very much hoping that it will be a series”. She is encouraging listeners who like the comedy to tell the BBC by emailing Pick of The Week.

People can listen on iPlayer until the end of January.

The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, has announced its line up for the autumn season with a raft of productions and entertainers set to visit the restored Regency venue.

Waveney Light Opera Group hopes audiences will get on their plates of meat for its production of My Fair Lady.

Katherine Ryan is best known for her caustic comedy style on panel shows such as Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats,

In his inimitable Cockney style he lobbed out a host of gags and funny stories to a near sell out audience.

This week the role of critics has come under scrutiny as one long-serving reviewer revealed a racist approach to the casting of classic plays. Arts editor Andrew Clarke says that while you should disapprove of his views, banning dissenting voices is never the answer

A new children’s show at the DanceHouse, in Ipswich, combines dance with circus skills and plenty of surprises. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to choreographer Tamsin Fitzgerald about inspiring a new generation of theatregoers

Updated: Ipswich Scout and Guide Gang Show turns 80

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy birthday to the Ipswich Scout and Guide Gang Show, which turned 80 this week.

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest – at Cambridge Arts Theatre until April 14 – is an enjoyable and amusing production, writes James Marston.

Tracy Beaker star Dani Harmer and comedy legend Bobby Davro tell a tale as old as time in Enchanted Entertainment’s Easter pantomime Beauty and the Beast.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24