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Tuesday 08 January 2019

James McLure's Double Bill Dissection Of Post-Vietnam Relationships Plays @ Brighton's New Venture Theatre

Written just a year apart, Lone Star in 1979, Laundry & Bourbon in 1980, the plays share the same setting, themes and connected characters and, not surprisingly, are usually presented on the same bill.

Both were penned by James McLure, who never achieved major fame, yet his work was well-respected by the theatre community with his other acclaimed works including Pvt.Wars, The Day They Shot John Lennon and Max and Maxie.

In Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star McLure intertwines the lives of his colourful characters with vigour and wit, beautifully observing their post-Vietnam relationships in a way that continues to resonate with audiences: if there is any moral to this compelling take on small town Texas, as the Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington suggests, its "that life goes on in the face of domestic and national tragedy".  
 
Opening on a baking hot afternoon, Laundry and Bourbon sees Elizabeth and Hattie reflecting on their high school days and what life in Maynard has dealt for them since. 

Elizabeth's husband Roy is missing and she's harbouring a secret while Hattie, escaping her 'high-spirited' children, advises her best friend on how best to move forward. 

Enter Hattie's nemesis, Amy Lee, with fresh gossip and news to send Hattie into a tail spin: Bridge is on its way out and a new game is coming to town. 
 
That same evening, Lone Star sees Vietnam veteran Roy and his brother Ray sharing a few beers and some snacks out the back of Angel's Bar. 

Roy is still struggling to come to terms with how much life has moved on without him since serving, while Ray endures his older brother's attempts to show him what war was really like. 

Neither is aware of what the night holds for them, or Roy's prized 1959 pink Thunderbird convertible

Then along comes Cletis, Amy Lee's husband and source of constant irritation to Roy, troubled with a big secret of his own that will ensure Roy's dark mood continues.  

Mark Lester directs his second play for the New Venture Theatre, following Tons of Money at the venue's 70th Anniversary earlier this year. 

Please note that both Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star will be performed upstairs in the NVT's main theatre, and there will be smoking on stage. They are also not suitable for children due to adult humour, language and themes. 

The double bill of Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star plays the New Venture Theatre, Brighton, from Friday 18th January to Saturday 26th January 2019. For tickets CLICK HERE. 

by: Mike Cobley




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