There’s nothing ecstatic about the lives of the characters in Mike Leigh’s revival of his ironically titled 1979 slice-of-life drama, set in the cheerless Kilburn bedsit of Siân Brooke’s lonely, unfulfilled petrol station attendant Jean.

It’s a dispiritingly realistic study of limited working class lives, originally devised by Leigh in conjunction with the actors who created the roles over thirty years ago and restaged here with a depressing authenticity punctuated by frequent moments of comedy provided by chirpy, light-fingered best friend Dawn (Sinéad Matthews) and her irresponsible Irish builder spouse (Allen Leech) as she totters drunkenly into his arms in a post pub singing session.

But for Jean and their old mate Len the tentative prospect of happiness seems slim in this strongly acted transfer of Hampstead’s sold out production. 


Duchess, Catherine Street, WC2B 5LA
Tube: Charing Cross
020 7722 9301 AND
0844 412 4659
Until 28th May

– Louise Kingsley