Review: April in Paris at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre

April in Paris
April in Paris

“It was so real,” said one audience member, leaving the Pomegranate earlier this week, on the first night of April in Paris.

It was, too. Shobna Gulati and Joe McGann are a class act, breathing life and the ring of truth into Al and Bet, an ordinary couple in a stale marriage, fratching and prodding at each other’s tender spots and wishing things were different.

Then, suddenly, they are. Bet wins a competition, and a romantic break in Paris beckons. As their eyes are opened and their horizons widen to include steak tartare and hole-in-the-floor loos, they begin to realise how much of the world they’ve been missing.

The clever set design makes no pretence at realism; a patio morphs effortlessly into a cross-channel ferry, and all of Paris is on stage in lights and technicolor. But as a background for master playwright John Godber’s acute eye for the quirks and nuances of relationships, it works well. Gulati and McGann show they are more than capable of mining the emotional subtleties which underlie Godber’s deceptively simple dialogue.

It runs until Saturday, September 20.

LYNNE PATRICK