Based on the famous sitcom that ran for five seasons in the early ’90s Waiting For God has finally managed to make it to the stage.
Michael Aitkens originally wanted Waiting For God to be a screenplay before it became the BAFTA nominated classic that’s known and loved. However, despite being offered a West End run at Shaftesbury Theatre Aitkens wisely chose otherwise as he was too snowed under with work. Now finally on a UK Tour, Waiting For God is set in present day rather than the ’90s so this script is refreshing and appealing to a younger audience.
Waiting For God follows Diana Trent, played by Olivier Award winner Nichola McAuliffe, who just seems to be getting more miserable by the day at the retirement home. Her life changes when a new man moves into the room next to her called Tom Ballard, played by Hi-De-Hi’s Jeffrey Holland. Joanna Bending plays Diana’s niece, Sarah, the only person who visits her and David Benson plays Tom’s son, Geoffrey. Harvey Baines, the manager of the retirement home, is played by Samuel Collings and Emily Pithon plays Jane who not only works there too, but has a huge crush on Harvey.
Waiting For God is an incredibly well written play and the comical timing of Nichola McAuliffe does more than enough to honour the script. The chemistry between McAuliffe and Holland is hilarious and heart warming making them engrossing to watch throughout the whole show. The jokes are absolutely brilliant and will appeal to anyone who is either old or young. Despite being intentionally obnoxious the characters Harvey and Jane are portrayed very well as complete opposites to Diana and Tom respectively. The sub plot of Harvey and Jane is no where near as entertaining, but does enough to create a few laughs.
The set design is a very well thought out and does capture what it is like in a retirement home. Inside the flats lead out off the stage to make stage exits more natural than just walking to the side. The numerous hospital trips also add some dark humour yet maintain the charm, especially with Holland walking away in his hospital robe flashing his behind to the audience. The change of character of Diana through both acts is pleasant to watch because it isn’t exaggerated; she maintains her miserable character whilst being more open to her friends and family.
Bringing Waiting For God to a modern age is brilliantly done and is very subtle up until the use of phones and laptops come into the play. It’s an hilarious take on care homes to make all the mishaps rather enjoyable and doesn’t make later life all doom and gloom. Aitkens script is absolutely excellent and the main plot is consistently enjoyable throughout the show. Nichola McAuliffe and Jeffrey Holland are perfect together in this play and you don’t want to take your eyes off them. Waiting For God is a tremendous comical play that everybody of all appropriate ages should get to watch.
Waiting For God is on at The Lowry until Saturday so make sure you grab your tickets here.