Reviewed by Dave Smith
The Tea Tree Players showed a sure understanding of the purpose of rapid-fire farce in their first production for the year. Theresa Dolman’s crisp direction kept the dialogue and action flowing.
The witty script calls for a balance between verbal and physical humour. The cast handled that well with clear enunciation and sure comic timing. The inevitable quick entrances and exits were well rehearsed and the double entendres and multiple cases of mistaken identity came thick and fast.
Central to the plot, and in many ways the controller of the pace and mood of the play, was Nick Hargreaves. He played Gilbert who was both culprit and victim of marital disloyalty. He commanded the audience’s attention with a strong stage presence, portrayed a good variety of emotions and was genuinely and effortlessly funny.
All three women were well cast. Stacey Webb as Gilbert’s wife Shirley was sensitive and forthright. Tina Cini as Jane showed the necessary self doubt in her desire to be a risk-taker. She made the most of her strong vocal skills and animated expression. Hayley Mitchell was delightful and physically dextrous in the role of Helga, the coquettish Lufthansa flight attendant.
Mark Horner was Jane’s would-be straying husband Roger, and Sam Evans was her intended toy-boy, Mark, both had their convincing moments, and provided good comic foils to the other characters.
With this successful farce, the Tea Tree Players have made an amusing and entertaining start to their busy year. More power to them!