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REVIEW: Eclipse Drill Hall, London

Tammis Day makes no secret of the fact that the issue that drives her new play, Eclipse, is painfully close to home. Katherine, the heroine, battles with alcoholism and is determined to stay sober. She has made a new life for herself on an island off Maine and is holding herself together with simple tasks and simple pleasures. But when she is visited by her old friend, fellow lesbian and former drinking partner Helena, she finds her citadel stormed.

Helena is clearly still hung over from the Sixties, still living and loving dangerously (she brings with her a frighteningly self-confident Australian loverand has put away the best part of a bottle of vodka before Katherine has had time to grind a coffee bean).

The play has all the values and drawbacks of any piece that comes from the heart. It has an emotional honesty and directness that is very appealing; it can also be cloyingly earnest at times. Kate Crutchley's production (on Amanda Fisk's atmospheric set) plays up its virtues, emphasising the comedy and the changing relationships between the four women characters. She has a strong cast: Mary McCusker as the brittle Helena, Sladjana Vujovic as her predatory lover, Ursula Jones as the well-meaning neighbour, and Hazel Maycock giving a lovely, open performance as Katherine. You sip your interval drink rather sheepishly.