COMING out of Altrincham Little Theatre I heard several people remark “That was unusual” when discussing Gates of Gold by Frank McGuinness.

Certainly the two main characters are unusual.

The outstanding actor has to be Stephen Moss who plays Gabriel, a dying man, perfectly.

He manages to convey pain and suffering without losing the airs and graces of a man who has a lifetime’s connection with the theatre.

His love for his partner of 40 years, Conrad, shines through but, as so often over the years, they have their squabbles.

When Conrad, played expressively by Malcolm Cooper, smokes a pipe containing laudanum, it is not a pipe of peace!

Nevertheless, their barbs are accurate because of their longstanding affection.

Malcolm’s Conrad conveys well, the affection they share and is devastated at the thought of Gabriel leaving him forever.

Victoria Johnson as Alma, Conrad’s nurse with problems of her own, Kathryn Fennell as Conrad’s sister, and newcomer, Steve Cunio as his nephew, Ryan, all add to the melancholy and have their own reasons for doing so.

Congratulations to Polina Sparks and Alan Reidsma for designing such a good set.The bright and modern bedroom with a room attached is a credit to them.

The five-strong acting team interact well and bring out the best of a somewhat wordy play.

* Gates of Gold is at Altrincham Little Theatre until Saturday January 27 2018. Tickets, priced £9 are from or telephone 0161 928 1113. Star rating: ****.