Gentle, whimsical, philosophical and rather bittersweet comedy at the Brighton Fringe

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After All These Years brings gentle, whimsical, philosophical and rather bittersweet comedy to the Brighton Fringe on its return after a successful debut two years ago.

Director and producer Graham Pountney will himself take to the stage alongside Carol Ball, Judy Buxton and Jeffrey Holland. He will be the sole survivor of the 2021 Brighton cast: “We put it on at the Rialto Theatre for the Fringe and we were nominated for the best play award for it. It was just to try it out but it went very well and since then it has been revised and rejigged slightly and we've got an ex-West End cast. It's going to be great fun.”

Graham is delighted to be directing again: “I'm very critical of myself when I'm directing and I ask Giles Cole, the writer, to give me nudges here and there. I discuss it with him. He is an ex-actor so he can also see it from a performer’s point of view but I do also cast myself a little bit upon the other actors to see how they think it's going.”

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The piece offers a bittersweet comedy about the passing of time, memory, love and last chances. Real-life married couple Jeffrey Holland and Judy Buxton play married couple Alfred and Joanie, with Carol Ball and Graham Pountney playing Marianne and Charlie. Relationships can be a delicate balance of hope, desire, memory, regret and much more besides, especially when two former showbiz couples think they know all there is to know about each other. But what secrets are quietly waiting for their cue to change the course of these couples’ lives forever?

After All These YearsAfter All These Years
After All These Years

“It's about two showbiz couples who are in the late 60s or 70s that have left the business. I would say that they left the business maybe 15 years before when they were in their 50s or maybe late 40s and the piece is set in one of the couple's flats and a pub. In the pub the boys, me and Jeffrey, have a drink several times a week and talk about their lives and are trying to cheer each other up.”

One of the chaps gets very concerned when he can't remember the name of the weatherman before Michael Fish: “And it becomes very serious for him. He thinks if he can forget that name then he might end up for forgetting the name of his wife. It opens up a whole can of worms and the whole thing is hilarious.” Meanwhile the wives are chatting too, wondering whether there shouldn't actually be something else in their lives: “It gets a little bit philosophical and one of them spills the beans…”

Writer Giles Cole said: “This play was enormous fun to write and takes a gently comedic look at relationship difficulties in older life when things are supposed to be calm and well settled. Audiences loved this play when it first aired at the Brighton Fringe in 2021 to great reviews.” The show is at the Lantern Theatre at 77 St James Street, Brighton, BN2 1PA end May/early June – Sun, May 28, Mon, May 29, Tues, May 30 and Weds, May 31 May plus Thurs, June 1 and Fri, June 2. Tickets 01273 818266; via the Brighton Fringe or 01273 717272.

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