Comedy is a matter of ‘Life and Beth’

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Recently-widowed Beth is hosting her first family Christmas since her health and safety exec husband’s death in an accident, but an ambiguous prayer by the local vicar brings unworldly and unexpected and disastrous consequences in Alan Ayckbourn’s festive comedy ‘Life and Beth’.

Beth’s deceased husband, Gordon, returns, in ghostly form, intent on running Beth’s affairs. It turns out he has been implementing health and safety measures in the afterlife.

Beth’s efforts to overcome her late husband’s interference is not helped by her family’s misguided support. Connie, her sister-in law, has a drinking problem, and Ella, girlfriend of Connie’s son, is prone to emotionally volatile outbursts.

‘Life and Beth’ is the third play of a trilogy entitled ‘Things that Go Bump’ - the first two plays were ‘Haunting Julia’ in 1994 and ‘Snake in the Grass’ from 2002. It was Ayckbourn’s first play after he suffered a stroke in 2006. Guardian critic Michael Billington described the play as “comic and touching”.

The play is directed by Ian Byfield who has the benefit of an experienced cast in Rob Billson, Liz Bick, Chris Williamson-Coombs, Paige Fletcher, Penny Wadsworth and Richard Taylor.

‘Life and Beth’ runs from December 8 to December 12 at 7.30pm with a Sat matinee at 2.30pm. Tel: 01422 365998.