Review: Weekend Breaks ****

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Wakefield Theatre Royal, Wakefield

This Be the Verse writ large, John Godber’s Weekend Breaks is about not just how your mum and dad “mess” you up, but exactly how they “mess” things up for you.

As autobiographical as most of his best work, this is one of the least revived of Godber’s plays and it is undoubtedly a tricky piece.

The problem is that audiences will likely fall on the side of either Martin, the now highly successful son of the modest Joan and Len Dawson, or the parents. If you fall so firmly into one camp, it makes it difficult to see the point of view of the other.

That’s the issue with the story – the major problem with the script is that Godber has updated the 1997 piece, creating dialogue that is at times dizzyingly anachronistic – on the one hand we hear talk of Live Aid and the closure of the mines, the next moment he’s referencing TV shows Shameless and House.

None of these problems is insurmountable, and in Weekend Breaks Godber has a play that discusses the problems inherent in social mobility and what happens when you move up and leave those closest to you behind. How do you relate to your parents when you want to discuss the Brechtian notion of Verfremdung and your folks want to discuss Vera from down the road?

Heartfelt, poignant and a play that will have something to say while class remains an issue, it is brought brilliantly to life by the small Godber company of Christine Cox and William Ilkley as the parents and Robert Hudson as the wünderson.

SJT, Scarborough, February 27 to March 3. Hull Truck Theatre, March 6 to 17.