The Good Life in Chichester - a great evening's fun

REVIEW: The Good Life, Chichester Festival Theatre, until Saturday

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 1:02 pm
The Good Life
The Good Life

For those of a certain age, The Good Life represented TV comedy at whizz bang peak.

From 1975 to 1978, the BBC sitcom was a must-see event for a third of the population.

It wasn't just the theme that made it an instant hit - of a middle-aged plastic novelty designer escaping the rat-race with his wife and turning their home and garden in suburbia into a self-sufficient small-holding.

Nor was it the immaculate, witty script by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey - who contrasted the avant-garde Mr and Mrs Good with their snobby, reactionary neighbours, the Leadbetters.

The real magic of The Good Life was the extraordinary energy and chemistry of its four protagonists played by Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith, and Paul Eddington.

After lockdown, the plot could not be more timely as we all turn to our own backyards for succour.

This new adaptation by Jeremy Sams lost any of the sparkle.

But the team is different - and no matter just how excellent they are it is simply impossible for them to generate that same bittersweet aura that made The Good Life so good.

This production, of course, does not intend to be a carbon copy of what went before.

However, it cannot work miracles and recreate a safer, less intimidating 1970s BBC. So a certain disappointment is inescapable.

Once you have accepted that, you are in for a great evening's fun.