SETTLING down at the Menier Chocolate Factory to watch Nicky Silver’s play The Lyons I realised this is not the sort of play you should take anyone to who has just lost or is in the process of losing a loved one.
The story is a simple one. Ben Lyons (Nicholas Day) is lying and dying in a hospital bed. His odious wife Rita (Isla Blair) is busy plotting her life once he’s popped his clogs, looking at home decor magazines for inspiration with a view to erasing any lasting memory of him in the house.
Their two children, recovering alcoholic and single mum Lisa (Charlotte Randle) and gay short story writer Curtis (Tom Ellis) are summoned to their father’s bed and told just before the end comes - and it doesn’t go down well.
In fact the news causes many old wounds to re-open, tempers to flare and truths to come out.
So, unsurprisingly Ben is not exactly full of the joys and spends what little time he has left cursing anyone and everyone.
Although achingly funny in places it is ultimately a sad tale of a dysfunctional New York Jewish family who are all nursing grievances of one sort or another.
The cast is superb, particularly Tom Ellis as Curtis whose cack handed attempt at seducing Ben Aldridge’s estate agent was one of the highlights of the piece.
But the star of the show was Isla Blair as Rita. She was brilliant, dispensing nasty, distasteful and caustic comments to both her husband and children with absolutely no compunction whatsoever. Brilliant.
The Lyons is at the Menier Chocolate Factory until November 16.
Tickets from £31. Call the box office 020 7378 1713