The Cemetery Club

The Cemetery Club
By Ivan Menchell. Directed by Phil Carney. New Farm Nash Theatre. July 7 –29, 2023.

This is a poignant comedy-drama about relationships, ageing, relationships and life after adversity concerns three friends – Doris, Lucille and Ester.  All three live in the same Jewish community, are in their mid-to-late fifties and have become widows in the past few years. Once a month they gather to visit their husbands’ graves and meet afterwards to talk about their lives. From these talks, the audience learns of the developing differences between them as to how to approach the future while not forgetting the past marriages. The differences in their approaches are emphasised when Sam becomes involved – and another woman. It reaches a peak after the three act as bridesmaids for a mutual friend who is marrying, after being married goodness knows how many times. The ensuing humour and contrasting grief make for an intense time, broken up with a good deal of humour, for the audience.

Director Phil Carney has done an excellent job, obviously from his cast selection, but mainly with the smooth interplay between his characters. They sounded and acted with such reaisml it was easy to forget they were on stage. Linda Morgan, as the dominant manipulator and driving person, Lucille, was very good indeed. Ida, played by Claire Marchesi, was the person most questioning of how changes would impact her life. Carrie O’Rourke completed the main trio in the role of Doris, who did not want to change. Good too. Still, all of the three could be quite nasty at times and this made for a good night at the theatre.  Matt McNeice and Silvana Siliato in the minor roles maintained the high standards.  It was the brilliance of the interplays that really impressed me. 

When a play is over before you realize it because you were so involved - laughing at times and at others times angry and annoyed  - then that is very good production. Congratulations to director, cast and crew. Nash Theatre keeps getting better.

William Davies

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