Nostalgia is pretty thick on the ground this week with the first Coronation since 1953.

So what a good time for the Company of Ten to perform Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables, a play set in a hotel near Bournemouth in the 1950s.

It brings home the changes in day-to-day life between the Coronation of Elizabeth II and that of Charles III.

Here we meet people living in the main in a private hotel where they gossip over dinner at separate tables and congregate around the newfangled television set that we never see.

But despite the huge changes in lifestyle in those 70 years, what the play does show is that people had the same fears and anxieties in their lives then as they have now.

And that is what the production in the Abbey Theatre, St Albans, demonstrates so well.

Herts Advertiser: Separate Tables was performed by the Company of Ten at the Abbey TheatreSeparate Tables was performed by the Company of Ten at the Abbey Theatre (Image: The Abbey Theatre)

Divided into two halves but featuring many of the same members of the cast, the first act focuses on disgraced MP John Malcolm and his first wife, now Ann Shankland, whom he assaulted during their marriage resulting in prison time.

Russell Vincent and Tracey Chatterley as the two former partners who realise that they can neither live together nor apart have a terrific rapport that captures her loneliness and his bibulous response to the events of his previous life.

In the second act, the key character is Tony Bradburn’s Major Pollock, who has a secret that divides the other hotel residents.

A long-time member of the Company of Ten, Tony is perfectly cast as the apparently respectable military man who is not what he seems.

Several of the characters who appears in both halves of the play are especially watchable, notably Lianne Weidmann as the hotel manager Pat Cooper whose character demonstrates the meaning of stiff upper lip.

And Alison Muir as the autocratic Mrs Railton-Bell gives a fine performance both as the gossip we first meet and then later as the overbearing mother of Sibyl and the prime mover behind the persecution of Major Pollock.

Separate Tables is directed by Terry Prince who brings all his experience to bear on a fine production that makes you realise how little the concerns and anxieties of ordinary people have changed in the past 70 years even though their circumstances are vastly different.

The production runs until Saturday, May 13, and tickets are available from