Deckchairs a good dose of suburban ‘Englishness

news: Deckchairs a good dose of suburban ‘Englishness

ACTRESSES Amanda Booth and Celia Williams, well-known to audiences of English theatre in Lisbon, take on the challenge of creating the characters that appear in Deckchairs, a series of 12 short plays written by the acclaimed British playwright, Jean McConnell. Director of the plays is Jon Pedersen, who has also directed The Doll’s House and Talking Heads.

Each play depicts a snapshot moment in the lives of two women, who meet somewhere by the seaside on a sunny day in England. It could be a chance encounter, as in Doggies, in which two dog owners discover that, apart from their shared adoration of their dogs (who also star in the play), they have very little else in common. Or a meeting between old friends, like Wynn and Betty in Dancers, who wittily dissect their Latin American dance classes and the inadequacies of their male dancing partners.

Yet, more than simply presenting a cameo of two female characters, these pieces take us into a much wider universe of suburban ‘Englishness’ and its underlying obsession with class differences and appearances. While they may be gentle on the surface, these perceptive plays are dosed with plenty of bite and humour, but are never lacking in truth and compassion. Sometimes comic, sometimes touching, this is an evening’s entertainment that will appeal to a wide audience.

• Deckchairs will be performed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, at 9.30pm, from January 20 to February 5 at Estrela Hall, Rua da Estrela 10, Lisboa 1200 (next to the British Hospital). Bookings can be made by telephoning 213 961 946 (24-hour answering service). Tickets: 10 euros; for students: 7.50 euros; 10 per cent discount for groups of more than 10 people.