A MONTH of Sundays – the latest production by Witham Dramatic Club – is billed as a comedy, which it often is, but it’s also a poignant study of the frustrations of old age.

In his residential home, John Cooper is truculent, caustic and cantankerous. But he’s also lonely, and, one suspects, a bit scared, surrounded by death and “zombies” – his name for his fellow less on-the-ball inmates.

The play makes enormous demands on the central character, but Terry Cole rises magnificently to the challenge.

Not only is the play centred around his ruminations, it also requires him to be on stage throughout, apart from occasional trips to the loo (this is a play about old age after all) yet Cole carries it off with confidence and conviction, quick with the repartee, convincing in the monologues, mixed with the occasional touch of tenderness. It is a real tour de force.

There is excellent support from Stephanie Wilson, cheerful, charming and caring as the nurse; Amanda Bedwell, the busy down-to-earth cleaner; and Kris Knox-Crichton and Paul Warawi as the wish-they-were-somewhere else daughter and son-in-law.

And then there is Aylott, at first alert and intelligent before his world suddenly becomes a darker place. Gerald Staines touchingly captures the confusion of oncoming senility to leave the audience with a wide mix of emotions.

Ron Fosker