In Basildon review: Witty family drama sketches themes of generational shift
What an inspired piece of programming it is for Hornchurch to stage the first revival of David Eldridge’s punchy and immensely enjoyable family drama. In Basildon (2012) was one of the jewels of Dominic Cooke’s reign at the Royal Court and now here it is, taking up proud residence in the area of which it speaks with such witty profundity.
As Len lies on his deathbed in the house his working-class parents bought decades ago when they moved out from the East End, his fractious, fractured family gathers anxiously. Sisters Maureen (Lucy Benjamin) and Doreen (Beverley Klein) haven’t spoken for 20 years and are unlikely to bury their grievances now it is revealed Len has recently changed his will.
Douglas Rintoul’s confident production is peppered with fine performances. Eldridge’s skill is to make us care enormously about this worried brood, while also sketching wider themes of generational shifts — in expectation and education, for starters — as well the increasing difficulty of buying a home of one’s own. It is impossible to watch this now and not consider what made certain communities vote for Brexit.
Until Mar 30 (01708 443333, queens-theatre.co.uk)