Country Life by Peter Briffa

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Download Country Life from the Wireless Theatre Company

Wireless Theatre Company, 2012
In a sleepy Devon village, retired police officer Kenneth (David Forest) lives next door to Barbara (Marji Campi) in an apparently idyllic world: Kenneth has a thing for Barbara but is too much of a gentleman to admit it.  Instead he prefers going round regularly to her house for tea, sympathy and madeira cake.
Following the funeral of their friend Judith, however, their peace of life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of Jim (Chris Bearne), who has come down from Croydon for the day, and turns out to be Moira's old acquaintance.  Like Kenneth, he has a thing for Barbara, but has a greater willingness to admit it - even though Jim has been widowed only recently.
The conflict between Jim and Kenneth constitutes the centre of this entertaining comedy, where we learn precisely how suspicious a person Kenneth is (despite his training in the police force), and learn nothing about Jim's life; he might or might not be telling the truth.  But perhaps it doesn't matter: what really counts in Paul Blinkhorn's production is the conflict between the two male protagonists, sparring with one another like a couple of adolescents, rather than two senior citizens.
The play contains little action, but is nonetheless a penetrating study of how people like to cocoon themselves from the outside world in their own personal Gardens of Eden, and often resent the intrusion of strangers - even if the strangers mean no harm.