The man who penned Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers brings the simmering sibling rivalries and prejudices of a 1970s Liverpool family to the boil through well-crafted characters and a script that bubbles with humour while exploring thought-provoking traits and tensions.
Sisters try to outdo each other with household mod cons. The sexist men folk brag and booze as Christmas sees the family frissons explode, sparked by a daughter desperate to escape to a different, less materialistic, more meaningful world.
The city tale is brought to a rural audience by the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society. The strong cast do well to keep up their Scouse accents with only the occasional lapse into Norfolk, and they spark well off each other during some heavily dialogue-driven scenes.
Madeline Hudson and Kat Tindall are the superbly snobby sisters Betty and Reeny - the latter even getting rid of the pet budgie when it clashes with the new wallpaper. Louise Waller is the delightfully disaffected daughter Sandra, and Annabelle Culley the wide-eyed naive auntie Vera.
Matt Scantlebury impressed as the drink-loving dreamer Tommy, with Graham Blythe as the henpecked Syd, Martin Rodwell as controlling Ted, and Zac Green as his brainwashed son John. Glen Hall has the straight role as Tim the student whose lifestyle has opened Sandra's eyes to another universe where people are not glued to the television or sniping at each other.
This play takes flavours of Keeping Up Appearances and The Royle Family and adds a dollop of insightful pathos in a bitter sweet comedy that drew a rousing reception from an opening night audience.