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Review by Mike Swift

This was my first Ayckbourn play and I have to say I am hooked. A quick Sauvignon in the bar downstairs and I was ready for what I had been told was a play by a writer that I would really enjoy.

I was not disappointed. This science fiction comedy on relationships and robots sees Laura Matthews steal the show, perhaps because the part she played captivated me from the minute she was on the phone in the first scene on a TV screen.

Also because she plays the part of every man's nearly perfect woman. Bill Champion who plays Jerome, a poor estranged husband who is trying to get access to his estranged daughter via his even more estranged wife, holds the performance together and is the only constant.

I bet there are a few chaps around who will recognise Corinna, that estranged wife, as someone they can relate to too.

Jacqueline King has that position well rehearsed and her sarcasm was well sharpened for poor Jerome. As for Gaein (Jane), Corinna and Jerome's 13 year old daughter, now she really is every parents' nightmare. 

Hilariously funny as I am told are all the Ayckbourn plays, I could not help but compare the inner city violent culture outside the set and the fully automated supermarkets where you don't talk to anyone, unless it is via a video phone, as being a slight exaggeration on what life is really like today.

The only thing we haven't got in 2017 is an android childminder and I am sure one in fully working order would save on babysitting fees and allow parents a night out occasionally.

The cast held the audience in what was a long peformance (2hrs and 25mins) and I was itching to get back in after the intermission to see what Jerome had actually done while I tasted another fine Chardonnay wine in said intermission. It would have been rude not to! 

This play is on until Saturday, February 18 and is well worth watching as the matinee or the evening. Next week The Clueless Inspector Pratt retuns in his fourth installment in Dong Ding Murder Me On High, starring former Neighbours actor Mark Little.