Time of My Life

By Rosalind Friedman

For the past several weeks, I've been telling you, my wise, WMNR audience, that the Westport
Country Playhouse is presenting an Alan Ayckbourn's most serious comedy, Time of My Life. The
production directed by John Tillinger sparkles every much as the original, which captivated us in
London in 1993. The playhouse has cleverly used some of the actors, here, who appeared to great
success last summer in Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking. The playwright, who credits J.B. Priestly
with his use of time in his work, which ricochets between the present, the past & the future, tells the
story of a family focusing on a happy single moment in their lives. And it makes us think: would we
want to know what will happen to us?!

When the play opens, the Strattons are gathered in their favorite restaurant, the Essa de Calvi, where
all the action takes place. It is beautifully detailed by James Noone and lit with a golden glow by Rui
Rita. Costumed by Jane Greenwood, they are celebrating the 54th birthday of Laura, portrayed with a
crisp, cutting edge by Cecilia Hart, who hides her youthful looks under a red curly wig. Laura takes
her place among the pretty, petty women who fill the pages of playscripts. She's been married for
many years to Gerry; as this decent, kind, successful man, Paxton Whitehead is the kind of actor's
actor who always turns in a marvelous characterization. And this is no exception!

Laura and Gerry are the parents of two grown sons: Glyn, the older, a cad, played well by James
Waterston, works for his father's firm. He's just reconciled with his wife, Stephanie, after cheating on
her. Carson Elrod gives a quirky shine to the role of the second son, Adam, his mom's favorite, who
has started an arts magazine, but just can't find himself. When Adam's secret fiancee, Maureen
(Moreen), acted with adorable timing by Seana Kofeod, gets very sick from drinking too much, it
breaks up the dinner. Laura can't stand her, because she's a hairdresser and dresses badly. But
then she feels no one will do for her preferred son. Laura shows no sympathy for Stephanie, no love
for her grandson, Timmie, and finally, in a painful scene, admits to her loyal husband, Gerry, that she
had a fling in the back of a station wagon with his now-deceased brother many years before! It utterly
destroys him, and a minute later, we are saddened and shocked to discover he has been killed
driving his wife home from that party.

Now Time of My life takes a unique turn. One pair remains for 2 hours in the present; one pair
proceeds 2 years in the future; and one pair recedes 2 months into the past. Laura lives on selfishly
taking care of many dogs she could not have when married. Adam and Maureen split and he return
to his momma. Glyn leaves Stephanie with their two babies for his girlfriend. And lo and behold, this
seeming sad sack, played transformingly by Geneva Carr, develops into an independent, chic
woman, who takes the upper hand by telling Glyn, who has lost his job and his paramour, she must
have a divorce.

Jason Antoon's performance is outstanding and humorous as restaurant owner, Calvinu, and several
other waiters in various styles of moustaches and wigs--- one of them singing. Gerry's prescient
message at the end is most touching: Appreciate the moment, for one never knows when it will end.

Time of My Life will play through April 26 at the WCP.

This review originally aired on WMNR Fine Arts Radio

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