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Every single time

My sister has come to stay for a few days to keep me company over the anniversary of Christopher’s death. Rather than simply sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves,  or vegetating in front of the Olympics on the TV, I thought we actually ought to do something positive. So I booked us an early dinner at the theatre restaurant on Monday night, followed by tickets to see this week’s play. It starred Jenny Seagrove and Finty Williams who is Judi Dench’s daughter, so I thought that it ought to be quite a good production.

The show was Volcano, a “new” play by Noël Coward. New that is, in the sense of never having been performed in his lifetime, and having apparently been fairly recently rediscovered. I generally like Coward plays – the characters aren’t necessarily particularly pleasant, but they are usually witty and often distinctly funny. The publicity material said that it was about marital shenanigans on a tropical island, based on the life of Coward himself and his friend Ian Fleming, the James Bond author. Judging by all the other Coward plays I’ve seen, I also thought that the subject matter was likely to be quite light and not too painful for the rather dodgy time I’m having at the moment.

How wrong I was! The main character was a widow of several years standing who went on and on about how much she still missed her husband. Thanks for that – just what I needed. Then the volcano started erupting and the only happily married couple started arguing about whether the wife should evacuate to look after their children. She wanted to stay with her husband and die with him because she said she wouldn’t be able to live without him. I thought to myself  “Yes you would, it’s amazing what you can do if you have to.”  It got to the point that my sister and I just kept rolling our eyes at each other as the subject matter of the play harped more and more on death. Fortunately after a while I found the situation funny rather than painful. J said afterwards that it seems as if  every single time I go to the theatre, the play focuses on death, widowhood, cancer, grief and so on. I know they make good dramatic subjects, but surely there are other things one can write a play about?