Roots and Wings

rootsandwings_thumb-jpgIt hasn’t been Griff’s and Ruby’s day, really. Griff has discovered, in the most dramatic fashion, that their son Nigel is not only a drag queen but gay: hours later, Nigel is in hospital having been hurt in a car crash in which his lover, Kevin, has incurred much worse injuries.

Robust, sensible Ruby has much to deal with- Nigel’s fears, Griff’s prejudices, her own confused emotions- and has to use every resource at her disposal to keep the peace, especially as, for the first time, she and Griff are face to face with their “in-laws”, Kevin’s parents Rita and Vernon. Many secrets raise their ugly heads and many harsh words are spoken before this sharp-eyed yet compassionate comedy reaches it’s bittersweet conclusion.

It hasn’t been Griff’s and Ruby’s day, really. Griff has discovered, in the most dramatic fashion, that their son Nigel is not only a drag queen but gay: hours later, Nigel is in hospital having been hurt in a car crash in which his lover, Kevin, has incurred much worse injuries.

Robust, sensible Ruby has much to deal with- Nigel’s fears, Griff’s prejudices, her own confused emotions- and has to use every resource at her disposal to keep the peace, especially as, for the first time, she and Griff are face to face with their “in-laws”, Kevin’s parents Rita and Vernon. Many secrets raise their ugly heads and many harsh words are spoken before this sharp-eyed yet compassionate comedy reaches it’s bittersweet conclusion.

Roots and Wings Review

Beaufort Theatre
June 2 2008

Obviously I had heard about Frank Vickery’s work but had never had the opportunity to witness any of it. He had been very highly recommended, but always by, shall we say, a mature audience, so as an experiment I took my nineteen year old daughter with me to see how a child of the M.T.V. generation would respond to the piece. It worked marvellously, not only did we both thoroughly enjoy it, but she can’t wait for the next performance of Frank’s work at the theatre, luckily he’s back with ‘Erogenous Zones’ at the end of October.

The casting was inspired and the extremely clever ploy of Scene’s one and two being set at the same time so events that occur in the first scene overlap into the second, really was something different and not as confusing as it sounds. In the first scene buoyant Lollipop Lady Ruby (the superb Lynn Hunter) and dour Railway Guard Griff (Bill Bellamy, with a scowl that could curdle milk) discuss events following a car crash involving their son Nigel and his ‘friend’ Kevin. In the second scene we meet the uber-camp Nigel (a side-splitting performance from Gareth Richards) and ‘father-in-law’ Vernon (Nathan Sussex tremendous body language) who both have secrets. Flitting between both scenes as the nurse is Kelly Williams (supremely confident in this her first professional role).

The second Act introduces Michelle McTernan as Rita, Kevin’s mother (her prim middle classiness a perfect foil for Ruby’s rustic working class roughness), who also has a secret. Another great theatrical trick is employed in this Act where the stage is split in half between the ward and corridor and the action takes part simultaneously.

There are some epic one-liners, my favourite being missed by most of the audience, the one about the lady in the military (R.A.F.), and of course there are many double and treble entendres and some great elements of traditional British farce, especially with the double doors separating the corridor from the ward. Without revealing too much of the plot, the story although extremely funny has some moments that really make you think about acceptance and judgement of others. Roots and Wings will not only make you scream with laughter but think about how everyone has secrets and acceptance of others is paramount to the human condition.

Therefore, after being recommended to me by the ‘Blue Rinse Brigade’, Frank Vickery and the tremendous cast appeal to all ages, just ask my daughter, and judging by the reaction of the audience at the end of the play and comments made in the foyer, it was an exceptional evening’s entertainment.

If you only go to the theatre once a year make sure it’s a Vickery play you go to see.

Chris Phillips BRfm

Posted in Past Production