TIME AND THE CONWAYS
by J B Priestley
Priestley has created a host of believable and interesting characters in "Time & The Conways" which if you look closely enough you may recognise some of the characteristics in your own family and friends, which makes this play even more engaging.
The curtain rises on an English country home in 1919 in the midst of a game of charades played by the young Conway family at a birthday party with their friends. Flash forward to 1937 in the same house and the grown children have gathered to discuss family accounts where the atmosphere is not so jolly as in days past. For the Conways, time is dreamlike: their moments together are fleeting, and their destinies are mapped out.
Fans of period dramas such as "Downton Abbey" will love this magical play with its' dream like glances into the future and the past, creating a magical imagery on stage. The costumes are really well placed historically and the sound and lighting expand the stage area to make you believe that in the other room just off stage there is a party in progress.
It's very interesting the way that Priestley shows us how people and their mindset can change with some of the characters performing a complete U turn on their characteristics we see at the start of the play. We quickly realise through this that it is the influences that we allow on ourselves that force the change in the person, and that is not always good!
Louise Jameson, best known for her roles in "Eastenders", "Dr Who" and of course "Tenko" plays Mrs Conway, a woman who is not afraid to say what she thinks and feels and makes for a slightly eccentric head of the family, since the loss of her husband.
There are solid performances from all the actors but I think you will be sold on Scott Turnbull who plays Ernest Beevers, for me the most interesting of the characters and the one who is the farthest removed from the initial character we come to see by the close of the play.I shall not elaborate on why and how but urge you to go and see for yourself.
Not the longest of plays but one which will keep your mind on the stage and thanks to the dream sequences will keep your mind active throughout. It's not a play that you can let flow over you, for fear of missing some of the clever script. While it is not the most serious of plays it is a fascinating view on family life and what makes "the family" tick!
"Time and The Conways" is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 27 September 2014