This double-bill is an emotional rollercoaster that, despite two upbeat endings, makes for a pretty depressing ride. The four characters of Ted Moore's two playlets experience an impressive range of misery and make a poor advert for the fictional northern town from whence their problems stem. Topographical comment there is, though unhappiness is not pinned exclusively on anyone north of Watford. Pam, the middle-class southern graduate of 'second- hand clothes', gets her fair share of it while having an unfulfilling love affair with Brian, a northern shop-keeper, and trying to recover from a failed relationship and an abortion. With Pam alternating between frustrated self-pity and incandescent rage, light relief comes with Brian's one-liners. For much of the time, he is an amusing irrelevance, then, at the denouement, he ends life as Pam's emotional sponge and announces that he is actually pretty miserable too.
Reasons to be far from cheerful part two come in 'Sandra'. Jimmy, a travelling salesman with a tattered marriage, is trying to recover from killing his mistress in a drunken car crash. His wife Sandra's attempts at commiseration consist of calling him a murderer and enquiring about his mistress's funeral. Tanya Ridd Crook scores an impressive double as Pam (schizophrenic and angry) and Sandra (just angry); indeed the standard of performances is generally high. So, too, are the levels of sound and fury, and they are what leave the overriding impression.
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