Much-loved writer Alan Ayckbourn has been quoted as saying that this is one of his favourite plays and that the ones he likes most are those that are done the least or don’t do as well as they should.
Written in 1978, the story is set in the same back garden over a 12 year period and involves contented couple, Anthea and Richard, played with easy style by real life couple, Judi and Marc Adams.
It explores the unrelenting themes of ageing, jealousy and love.
There are some subtle performances from the Windmill Players’ cast of eight, as they throw themselves into what is at times a fairly physical production.
Andrew Figg is suitably troubled as Hugh, the vicar with wayward passionate feelings
And Jacqui Rhodes shines as his scatty, inept wife Louise who sports a stimulant-induced smile throughout the last scene.
Chris Moxon, gives a pleasing portrayal of bombastic Sven, Richard’s Finnish business partner who feels increasingly ineffectual, while Cath Griffiths handles the role of gossipy Olive very well.
Mark Edmonds as brusque Brian, also gave a very natural performance.
The remaining four characters are played by one actor, Emily Adams - Judi and Marc’s daughter, who appeared on The Voice as a finalist in 2014.
She plays each of her roles - belligerent Canadian Melody, abrupt artist Mandy, big-mouthed Mo as well as Richard and Anthea’s 18-year-old daughter Debbie - with distinctiveness.
Colin Johnston directs assuredly and the set is easy on the eye, impressively featuring attractive garden features and a tennis court.
Joking Apart is not one of Ayckbourn’s classics.
The humour is dark and bittersweet and the ending somewhat peters out.
But nevertheless, with some excellent performances from the experienced cast, is still a quality evening’s entertainment.
Until tomorrow, call 07746 906651 for tickets.
SARAH JANE STONE