A Passionate Woman at the Royal & Derngate Northampton Review

APassionateWomanA Passionate Woman
Royal & Derngate, Northampton

7-11 March 2016


Reviewed by Michelle Alexander

Liza Goddard plays Betty, a compassionate, doting mum whose son Mark is due to get married which she struggles to accept.

Based up North in Yorkshire, Betty retreats to her attic and she relives her long-lost youth and is reminded of the Craze, the Polish guy she had an affair with back in the 60’s. With so many memories around her and a ghost from the past, she finds herself torn between a husband she never loved, her son who is about to leave and the man she had a very passionate affair with.

Betty can come across as bitter and resentful and yet Liza catches the sense of fear and desolation that has framed her life with some humour.

This is a very well performed show, with 4 leads including Liza, the others are Anthony Eden who plays Mark, Hassan Dixon who plays Craze, Russel Dixon who plays Donald, Betty’s husband.

Antony Eden is a very strong character and acts his role brilliantly, as her son Mark and Russell Dixon as husband Donald. Initially a caricature of blustering Northern misery, Dixon turns it around to expose the fragility of the character and the lengths a person will go to save a marriage.

The show captures sadness and humour within a marriage and that of children and all within an attic and on the roof top.

It’s a great blend of nostalgia, romance and comedy with a truthful portrayal of regrets, family ties and ageing with twists and turns and some hilarious laugh-out-loud moments.

Whilst I don’t want to give too much away, the story managed to tackle the darkest of topics in a comical light – the laughter levels growing until the play’s brilliant climax which drew mid-scene applause, I was wondering if it was the end of the show. it wasn’t, the 2nd half got even funnier

Transcending the traditional boundaries of comedy, the play boasted authentic Yorkshire accents, a very simple stage, and a great chemistry between the cast, which resulted in an outstanding show.

Paul Milton’s adaptation of A Passionate Woman offers a refreshing twist on the genre as a comedy that makes you think – it covers dark subjects whilst triumphing as a wholly uplifting performance.

Significant, moving and downright funny, and a great chance to reminisce.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets costs from £9 to £29 (booking fees may apply).

A Passionate Woman is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton until 11 March 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01604 624811.

Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811


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