Review: Eden End by JB Priestley; Cambridge Arts Theatre

Eden End by JB Priestley; Cambridge Arts Theatre; until Saturday July 23.

The story of a prodigal daughter, JB Priestley’s Eden End is a well executed and entertaining production by the English Touring Theatre.

Under the direction of Laurie Sansom, a quality cast bring to life the story of the Kirbys - an emotionally conflicted Edwardian family – as they deal with the return of long lost daughter Stella. With plenty of humour and pathos the story is nicely drawn out.

Touching on a variety of themes including sibling rivalry, family relationships, the march of progress, intergenerational conflict, missed chances and unfulfilled ambition – this production benefits from some very good performances and an imaginative set. Though, the play itself lacks a little pace in the first act this is easily forgotten as the second half warms up.

The undoubted highlight of the show is the brilliant verbal dexterity displayed by talented duo Nick Hendrix and Daniel Betts as they play the drunken Wilfred Kirby and Charles Appleby after an amusing night out.

Charlotte Emmerson plays with aplomb the role of Stella, a character who comes to realise that she no longer fits in with the life she ran away from. Carol Macready’s lovely sense of timing is well cast in the part of the all knowing woman-that-does Sarah.

This is a quality production of a quality piece. The play runs at Cambridge Arts Theatre

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James Marston