Even as they flank their 60 year old bachelor brother Len’s deathbed (he gurgles his last as we watch) they still refuse to address each other directly in David Eldridge’s eminently watchable, blackly comic new play which keeps its secrets till the final scene.

There are hints along the way as they await the reading of Len’s will by best mate Ken (impressive Peter Wight) a jovial widower, still with an eye for the ladies. But it’s Eldridge’s understanding of the political climate of Essex and of his working class characters which fascinates more than the actual falling out – Ruth Sheen’s carefully presented Maureen, Linda Bassett’s dowdy Doreen (excellent), her never-going-to-make-it son (Lee Ross) with his loudmouth wife (Debbie Chazen) both convinced that the house will soon be home to their yet to be conceived child, and Maureen’s teacher daughter Shelley who’s as keen to reject her background as her banker’s son boyfriend (Michael Bennett) is to disown his.

Royal Court Theatre, SW1W 8AS
Until Mar 24
Tube: Sloane Square   

– Louise Kingsley

Photo: Keith Pattison