Review: Godfrey's Last Love (Bring Me Sunshine) Talking Stock Productions

Talking Stock are performing Godfreys Last Love  at Christ Church, Broadway, Morecambe on February 28
Talking Stock are performing Godfreys Last Love at Christ Church, Broadway, Morecambe on February 28

True Yorkshireman, retired cricket umpire and avowed socialist Godfrey Shackleton may have fallen on his feet with a lucky lottery win - but will that luck linger on into his love life?

And what happens when his heart starts to flutter for twinkly widow,

Betty, who just happens to be from Lancashire and a Conservative? Will it turn into war of the roses or a beautiful bunch of them?

Halifax-based award-winning theatre company, Talking Stock’s, latest offering is a charming look at how love conquers all and blows politics, past relationships and country rivalries out of the water. A sequel to Alan Stockdill’s 2014 play Godfrey’s Last Stand which played in various theatres over the past 20 months, Godfrey’s Last Love (Bring me Sunshine) stands alone.

The backstory of this affable cricket umpire who wins the lottery is explained but not pushed in our face. We know just enough to move on. Well it made perfect sense to me, never having seen the first play (although I’m now desperate to see it please)!

Keith Royston is a astounding force of nature with his storytelling prowess as the indefatigable Godfrey, a talented actor who is the lynchpin of a first-class cast. On a lads’ trip to Morecambe with best mate Freddy (played with measured, endearing humour by director and playwright, Stockdill) and grandson, Justin, who loves spending time with his Grandad when home from University. Talking Stock newcomer Todd Wilson hit just the right note playing ‘old soul’ Justin who fitted in with the cross generational banter like a cosy kid glove.

Sharon Kelly delivered Godfrey’’s daughter Donna with a refreshingly open, natural verve and sparky humour. Meanwhile, there was a touching and very real performance from soon-to-be octogenarian Marion Reynolds as Betty, who is determined to bag Godfrey’s heart from the outset. Her monologues about losing her husband and young son were beautifully measured and made things even more excruciating when the new-found happiness with Godfrey slipped away as soon as it arrived.

This is a refreshing, touching, witty and emotional piece of theatre about finding love in the third age: The appeal, the guilt, the fears, the hopes the dreams. Can you share old places with somebody new? And if you believe that there is something else, something after, and you have lost your first love and found another companion, who will you be with in heaven?

Philosophy, pathos, laughter, life lessons, tantrums and tears all came together and the audience heaved a sigh of relief when after a sickening and sudden split the hopeful couple finally laid their fears to rest for the last miles of their journey. Brilliant, touching, light, shade, ups, downs and ups again. This play had it all. Bravo Talking Stock.

Talking Stock are performing Godfrey’s Last Love at Christ Church, Broadway, Morecambe on Sunday 28 February. Curtain up at 7.30pm. tickets £10 (£7 concessions).

All programme proceeds to St John’s Hospice, Lancaster. To book call Catherine on 07785 530129 or online at talking stock.co.uk/talkingstock