Reviewed by Wendy Mildren
The Rep’s latest production of Are You Being Served directed by Ian Maitland opened on 31st March. The play is based loosely on the sit-com TV show written in 1972, and lines that we considered hilariously funny at that time are now somewhat dated.
Sue Wylie made a valiant attempt as Mrs. Slocombe. She looked and was dressed for the part, but appeared to have a problem maintaining her accent. Georgia Dodd as Miss Brahms did a good job and the scene where she and Mrs. Slocombe measure the male customer’s inside leg was the highlight of the show. The customer was played by Rohan Richards. Andrew Dowling played a credible Mr. Lucas, and was sufficiently cheeky for the part.
Rob Parnell in the role played by John Inman, Mr. Humphries, was disappointing. He was not assisted by the wardrobe department as he may have carried the part off better if he had been tottering on platform-soled shoes and flairs. John Matsen as Mr. Grainger almost stole the show, both looking and sounding the part. Penni Hamilton-Smith as the “lady customer” did steal the show.
Damien White Mr. Mash / Bernardo, Geoff Hastwell as Mr. Rumbold, Bill Wood as Captain Peacock, Geoff Mitchell as Mr. Grace and Therese Hornby as Nurse/Conchita all did their best with the roles.
The minimalistic set worked well in both the Grace Brothers store and Don Bernado Hotel in Spain. The wardrobe needed a little more attention to fit, as most of the costumes where either skin tight or baggy. There was a blocking problem when Mr. Grace made his appearance and obviously some opening night jitters with slow cues. However, the audience appeared to thoroughly enjoy this production.