Linda Gray as Aurora.
Review: Terms of Endearment
First a book by Larry McMurtry, then an oscar winning film, writer Dan Gordon has a hard act to follow with his stage version of Terms of Endearment. Kevin went along to the world premiere to review it...
Venue: Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Dates: Monday 29 Oct to Saturday 03 Nov 2007
Tickets: £9 - £24
Box office: 01242 572573
The problem with taking a major Academy award-winning film with 11 nominations and 5 Oscars to stage is that you're up against it right from the start.
There are bound to be comparisons back to the original film for all of the characters and when you're pitched against Shirley Maclaine, Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger you've got your work cut out.
Linda Gray and John Bowe.
On the other hand the comparisons allow the audience to immediately associate with the characters will a feeling of familiarity.
Dan Gordon's stage adaptation uses this to his advantage with good performances all round from the cast.
If you've not yet seen the film or play, the story deals with a 30-year relationship between a devoted, possessive, interfering and widowed mother and her stubborn daugher.
The mother - Aurora Greenway - is played by Linda Gray (of Sue Ellen fame in Dallas) and her daughter - Emma - played by Suranne Jones (Karen McDonald in Coronation Street).
While in Gloucestershire, Linda Gray joined John Rockley on the BBC Radio Gloucestershire midmorning show. Click below to listen.
Suranne Jones as Emma.
The relationship ends in tragedy when Emma dies of cancer leaving behind her three children and a cheating husband.
During the relationship, middle-aged Aurora dodges but eventually succumbs to the flirtations of her next-door neighbour, a drunken, womanising, former astronaut Garrett Breedlove (John Bowe - George Marlow in Prime Suspect).
The play moved through the story at a good pace using the cleverly designed set well and delivering some very funny lines.
When asked by Emma how much she liked her deceased husband, Aurora replies "about 28 – 30%". She also adds "He had good teeth".
John Bowe and Robert Fitch.
Linda Gray and Suranne Jones gave good performances, in particular Jones in the dying scene.
John Bowe however gave a sparkling performance as Garrett. The part must be heaven for an actor with its rich character and fiery spirit.
His excellent delivery of wonderful lines had the audience laughing out loud on many occasions and both he and Linda Gray used the chemistry between them to very good effect.
The remainder of the cast, Robert Fitch (as Aurora's husband Rudyard / Doctor in the hospital) and Katherine Heath (as Emma's best friend Patsy/Nurse/Doris – one of Garrett's unsuccessful conquests) supported the other three well.
The play comes to a tearful end when Emma dies in the hospital but not before asking Aurora to write a farewell letter to her children.
Suranne Jones and Kathering Heath.
The final scene shows Aurora telephoning Emma's answering machine on the day of her funeral because as she says "she had to call because she was the one she always spoke to".
A very well delivered play that will have you laughing and crying before you leave the theatre.
last updated: 30/10/07