Grave comedy for Church Hill

Mar 11 2019 | By More

EPT present Menchell favourite

Edinburgh People’s Theatre return to the Church Hill Theatre this week with four performances of Ivan Menchell’s late Eighties comedy The Cemetery Club from Wednesday 13 March 2019.

The story of three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves has a gentle comedy to it and is life affirming rather than being a depressing contemplation of death.

Pat Johnson (Ida), Helen E Nix (Lucille) and Lynn Cameron (Doris). Pic Graham Bell

Ida is sweet tempered and ready to begin a new life; Lucille is a feisty embodiment of the girl who just wants to have fun; and Doris is priggish and judgmental – particularly when Sam the butcher enters the scene.

John Somerville who is directing the show for EPT told Æ: “Not every play has a handsome young hero or a lovely maiden. That’s why we chose The Cemetery Club – it is a very funny play and it will be beautifully acted by a mature, experienced and talented cast.

“Mature – but young at heart!”

Staged as a work in progress in 1987 the play made it to Broadway for a short run in 1990 and was made into a film in 1993, with Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Burstyn, Diane Ladd and Danny Aiello taking the lead roles.

The play itself, with its gentle comedy, has become something of a staple for amateur drama companies – there are a dozen productions schedules in North America over the next thee months.


However, the setting has its own hurdles for a Scottish company, as Graham Bell, who is playing the butcher, Sam, in the production told Æ.

“One of the challenges is to ensure we get as authentic a New York Jewish accent as possible. We have been helped in this by dialect coach Dani Morse-Kopp.

“It is a story about love in old age and whether after a lifetime of marriage to one person, it is acceptable or appropriate to seek a new partner,” Bell adds.

“Despite the play’s setting in a Jewish New York neighbourhood, it is relevant to all of us.”

The production opens on Wednesday with three evening performances to Friday and a matinee only, on Saturday.

The Cemetery Club
Church Hill Theatre 33a Morningside Road, EH10 4DR
Wednesday 13 to Saturday 16 March 2019
Wed – Fri evenings: 7.30pm; Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book online.

EPT Website:
Facebook: @EdinburghPeoplesTheatre
Twitter: @EPeoplesTheatre

The script and film adaptation are available from Amazon. Click image for details:


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