REVIEW: Henceforward – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

It’s sometime quite soon . . .

Jerome is a serious avant-garde composer. He`s written string quartets, a ‘cello sonata. Unfortunately, he`s best known for the soundtrack of the infamous Singing Babies TV commercial . . .

Even worse, ever since his bank manager wife Corinna left him, taking their daughter with her, Jerome has suffered from creative block. Locked inside his fortress flat, he now lives surrounded by TV screens, computers and synthesizers, with just one companion: NAN 300F, a robot nanny who seems almost human, despite being perpetually on the blink. Well, the manufacturer did have to withdraw the entire range after that ‘unfortunate incident’ . . .

Desperate to gain custody of his daughter, but knowing that this unconventional lifestyle is unlikely to endear him to the Department of Child Wellbeing, Jerome hires out-of-work actress Zoë to pose as his fiancée and play happy families for the benefit of Mervyn Bickerdyke, the Child Welfare Officer.

But things with Zoë go horribly wrong – just as Mervyn and Corinna are on their way to examine Jerome’s stable new home environment – and Jerome is forced to improvise. You know, it’s amazing what you can do with a robot, a few micro-chips and a screwdriver . . .

Alan Ayckbourn’s play unfortunately doesn’t stand up to the ravages of time and has dated – badly. It’s not helped by the fact the central character, though well enough acted, had no redeeming features. Ultimately it all left me a little bit cold.

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