Fringe Box



Review: Waiting for God – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 4 May, 2017
Updated on: 4 May, 2017

By Ferenc Hepp

Those of us who are of a certain age will no doubt remember the BAFTA nominated TV comedy series Waiting for God which ran for five series between 1990 and 1994, with Stephanie Cole and Graham Crowden.

The setting is Bayview Retirement Village and Michael Aitkens’s classic comedy is presented by James Seabright.

This stage version stars Nichola McAuliffe as Diana Trent and Jeffrey Holland as Tom Ballard, two of the residents at Bayview, both with very contrasting characteristics, and neither of whom are the quiet and retiring types.

I am often filled with apprehension when such a successful TV series is adapted to the stage with different actors, as the temptation is to compare everything to the original.  The result is quite often disappointing but this production is far from that.

From the familiar theme tune before any dialogue occurs, to the sour expression on McAuliffe’s face, one we were so familiar with in the original sitcom, and Holland’s cheeky demeanour, wry smile and obvious fondness towards Diana, we are transported back to Bayview as we knew it from the 1990s.

But no. The situation has been cleverly updated to the modern day with references to Brexit and Diana on her laptop talking to Google.

Even the voices from the TV series are recognisable through the two leads, as well as the heartless and selfish owner of Bayview, Harvey Baines, played by Samuel Collings, and the polite, though dim and completely useless manager, Jane Edwards, played by Emily Pithon.

They, along with Joanna Bending, David Benson, Peter Cadden and Corinna Marlowe offer excellent support, but Holland and McAuliffe take centre stage and are hardly ever off it.

The action starts with Tom moving in as Diana’s neighbour, they have an instant connection as Tom complains about the lunch and Diana therefore realises that she now has an ally against Baines.

As they become even closer they share many adventures, including a trip to Bournemouth in Diana’s niece’s Porsche, several visits to the hospital due to their health issues and a night of passion in Tom’s bed, which horrifies Jane, and  a marriage proposal. But who marries who? Is there a double wedding or no wedding at all?

The script is very funny and sharp, and I particularly enjoyed a lot of Diana’s lines which summed up either her outlook on life or her relationship with Tom and others around her.

At their first meeting Tom asks: “You didn’t have a husband?” to which Diana quickly replies: “Plenty! None of them mine!” Later she explains: “When you’re angry, you know you’re still alive,” and calls Tom’s son a “waste of sperm”. From such utterances we get the idea about her persona, but there is much more underneath, especially her emotional side when looking after her niece’s new-born.

There were plenty of laughs from an appreciative opening night audience and this is due to the good script, the company embracing the characters and working well together, combined with fond memories of the original TV series. Together it results in a good night out and I would thoroughly recommend catching it this week in Guildford or on tour.

Waiting for God runs until Saturday, May 6 and tickets are available via the website: or by calling the box office on 01483 440000.

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