Theatre Review: Get a Life! Get a Life Coach! written and performed by Philip Cox

Philip Cox as Violet Sackville-Rhode.in Get a Life! Get a Life Coach! (Photo: TBTL)

By Ken Powell

Wednesday 15th February saw an unusual guest at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake (TBTL): Aging lifestyle guru and “life charabanc”, Violet Sackville-Rhode. Ms Sackville-Rhode (Vi to her friends) spent the evening regaling a small audience in the studio theatre with both speech and songs to share her rather ‘unique’ perspective on life.

Using memory aids to remind her what on earth she was supposed to talking about (and even whether she was starting or ending the show) she gave us the helpful mnemonic that to enjoy life we should always be looking out for D.E.A.T.H. – much to the delight of the bemused audience! In the process, we learned much about her views on life, politics and the annoyance of why ‘they’ insist on changing the names of commercial products so often.

Vi first made an appearance on the stage in the musical Boorskale by Paul Tomkinson. Her ‘mentor’, Philip Cox, developed the character further and created a show of her own which has toured around the country.

The show is a gentle, pleasant experience with several ‘laugh out loud’ moments and almost constant smiles (a fair number of groans too) and the time with Ms S-R certainly passed very quickly as she leapt around the stage, interacted with the audience (even sitting with them at times) and quaffed what looked like a fine sherry with great gusto.

With many references to yesteryear and a humour which is from a similar era, this is not necessarily a show for a younger audience. For an older audience however, this if a most enjoyable romp through the mind of a character who is not entirely all there (and, very probably, never was). The discerning audience at TBTL appreciated the gags and running jokes which bordered on smutty but never crossed the line, and came away with smiles on their faces and even humming a tune or two as they went.

There’s always something going on at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake! Why not have a look on their website (www.theatrebythelake.com) and see what takes your fancy?