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Jefrey Bernard is Unwell reviewed by Kate Young in
The Isle of White County Press 18/10/02.
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight Count Press)
COWES Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of Jeffrey
Bernard Is Unwell at Trinity Theatre last week was an absolute
This smash hit West End play by Keith Waterhouse focuses on the
life of Jeffrey Bernard, a gambler, journalist and fervent alcoholic,
who wakes up in the middle of the night on the floor of the gents
in his local pub and finds he is locked in.
Resigning himself to spending the rest of the night with a bottle
of vodka and an endless chain of cigarettes, Jeffrey reminisces
about his life. His musings are punctuated with strong language
and witty one-liners, plus comic set pieces featuring characters
from his past and more poignant tales of lost love, the death
of his friends and thoughts towards his own mortality.
The effervescent Michael Arnell was excellent as Jeffrey Bernard,
a role first made famous by Peter O'Toole.
The other nine members of the cast each played several characters
from Jeffrey's past.
Liz Segal brought a sense of stylish elegance to the enchanting
character of Elizabeth Smart, while Carolyn Ferguson was suitably
loving, then icy, as the mistress. Mr and Mrs Backbone - characters
true to the heart of England -were portrayed by real-life husband
and wife team Steve and Diana Kimpton, while Diana was also excellent
as Jeffrey's elegant mother.
The interaction between Jeffrey, Robin Holbrook as mad cat-racing
genius Caspar and Phil Segal as cat-doper Tom was hilarious, while
Phil also touched the audience's hearts as the towel-clad man
contemplating the death of his genitals.
The cast also included Phil Burland, who played Dennis Shaw and
others; Wayne Child, who was funny as the bored waiter and Nicky
Stanley, who played the barmaid and one of Jeffrey's many lady
The show was superbly directed by Rosie Collard with husband
Tony Collard acting as production co-ordinator and daughter Zoe
responsible for the simple, yet effective set design.