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SEASON'S GREETINGS Clwyd Theatr Cymru; theatre.

WE MAY have more than ten weeks to go until Christmas, but that shouldn't stop you seeing the latest play being staged by Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold.

Season's Greetings by prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn takes place over the course of two and a half days, starting on Christmas Eve. The action takes place in the home of Neville and Belinda, and is firmly set in the 1980s, when the original play was written and set.

Their guests include Nev's blood-thirsty uncle Harvey; Nev's tipsy sister Phyllis and her grey husband Bernard; Belinda's sister Rachel and her new beau Clive; and Nev's dim-witted friend Eddie and his heavily pregnant wife Pattie. There's also a bunch of raucous children in evidence, but they are represented by off-stage recordings.

Mike Britton's impressive set shows every room of the house in which the action takes place, as well as rooms it doesn't. The centrepiece is the huge glowing Christmas tree in the hallway.

Season's Greetings is in three Acts but two halves. Acts one and two take up a hefty 105 minutes before you get a toilet break, and the third Act wraps it all up in 45 minutes.

Charlotte Gray The whole cast give their all in what is a highly strung production, with farce and melodrama never far from the surface.

Stealing the show with her glorious portrayal of the drunken sexpot Phyllis is Charlotte Gray, a woman who can''''t decide whether she loves booze or blokes more. The former inevitably leads to the latter, and her inebriated attempt to woo charming writer Clive is one of the highlights of the play.

The climax of Act two (just before the interval) is a riotous conflagration of slapstick and sitcom, culminating in an eye-watering moment of awkwardness which will have you grinning with glee all the way to the bar.

Season's Greetings is set at Christmas but is actually very little to do with it, the Yuletide setting merely an excuse to get a bunch of people together and see what happens. It'll definitely make you laugh, and probably make you crave a mince pie too. ? Season's Greetings, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, until November 2.

STEVE STRATFORD
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2013
Words:365
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