CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE
Time of My LIfe
AYCKBOURN COMEDY WELL SERVED IN WESTPORT
By Tom Holehan
Attention Westport Country Playhouse officials: Stop searching for an Artistic Director and offer the
job to John Tillinger! The Broadway and Long Wharf Theatre veteran is currently directing his third
production for the Westport venue following his hit productions of "The Drawer Boy" in 2006 and last
season's marvelous Alan Ayckbourn comedy, "Relatively Speaking". Tillinger is back at the helm this
month at WCP with another Ayckbourn classic, "Time of My Life", and the results are pure gold. The
man is now three for three. Offer him the position!
Alan Ayckbourn's brilliant comedies of bad manners have been delighting audiences for over 40
years. The author of such wickedly funny classics as "The Norman Conquests", "Absurd Person
Singular", "Absent Friends", "How the Other Half Loves" and dozens of others have dubbed him
"Britain's Neil Simon". But the writer often cuts deeper and is more subtle in his wit than America's
favorite playwright. A case in point is "Time of My Life", a brilliantly constructed view of marriage as
demonstrated by an older British couple and their two sons who are - for better or worse - the distinct
product of a most unstable union.
The play is set in a restaurant where mother is celebrating a birthday with her husband, sons and
their better-halves. The play then fractures time as we travel backwards over two months and witness
how the youngest son, Adam, and his girlfriend, Maureen, first met. Adam's brother, Glyn, and his
miserable wife, Stephanie, have their own story which proceeds from the birthday party two years
into the future. Parents Laura and Gerry, meanwhile, stay at the restaurant for two hours playing out
the events that occurred that one crucial night after their children left and their lives were changed
If it all sounds confusing, rest assured that in the capable hands of Alan Ayckbourn the play is
perfectly crafted and comments brilliantly on the hopes and aspirations, the deluded dreams and
disappointments that go into many modern relationships. With an exemplary cast of actors - some
from the Playhouse's previous production of "Relatively Speaking" - director John Tillinger sets it all
spinning with expert comic timing and a coda that is as moving as it is hilarious.
The superb Paxton Whitehead and Cecilia Hart are again paired (as they were in "Relatively
Speaking") as the mismatched marrieds with James Waterston and Carson Elrod, both excellent, as
Glyn and Adam. The women in their lives are played by standout Geneva Carr, as the wounded,
deeply disappointed Stephanie and the delightful Seana Kofoed, in a head-spinning array of
outrageous wigs and dresses, as Maureen, the girl of Adam's (almost) dreams. The prime
scene-stealer of the evening, however, may be Jason Antoon who has a ball playing no less than four
different waiters in the restaurant. With breathless costume, moustache and wig changes, each
waiter is individually hilarious and totally unique. Give the man a medal.
James Noone's rich scenic design details a restaurant very much European in flavor and Jane
Greenwood's costuming is as zesty and enticing as the waiter's dessert cart. She's especially on
target with Maureen's non-stop assortment of ghastly, eye-popping frocks. Rui Rita's spotty lighting,
though, could use some focus in delineating space especially in the past and future sequences.
"Time of My Life" does have a rather lengthy, extended second act, but it eventually rewards its
audience with an insightful, engrossing story and some terrific acting. Ayckbourn and Tillinger are
clearly a winning combination. More, more!!
"Time of My Life" continues at the Westport Country Playhouse through April 26th. For further
information call the theatre box office at 203.227.4177 or visit: www.westportplayhouse.org.
Tom Holehan is co-founder of the Connecticut Critics Circle and Artistic Director of Stratford's Square
One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: email@example.com. His reviews and other
theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.