Reviewed by Dave Smith
Therry’s production of this Ken Ludwig farce had plenty of life and energy. Under the direction of Jude Hines, the cast maintained the essential pace in most scenes while the set facilitated the required coming and going through a variety of entrances.
The fanciful plot involved a 1950s down-at-heel touring repertory company run by the Hay family. Their complicated backstage relationships were neatly set against the company’s staging of both Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives in the one season. Perhaps inevitably, the central comedy came when the characters confused those very different plays.
Maxine Grubel succeeded as Charlotte Hay. She skilfully showed the frustration with her foolish husband George (John Koch), along with her reluctance to accept her own faded glory.
Grubel’s sure stage presence and comic timing enhanced the humour of her scenes, especially those with George and Howard, her daughter’s awkward suitor, played by Joshua Coldwell.
Koch provided much of the play’s humorous energy. He maintained a strong physicality and, as befits farce, had the audience repeatedly guffawing with his over-the-top antics and mishaps. His growing, if exaggerated, drunkenness in Act II was a particular example.
Ben Todd did well as Paul, the other love interest of the Hays’ daughter, Rosalind, charmingly played by Karen Burns. She was an important and stable foil to the other characters who, for much of the time, were dashing about, declaiming loudly.
Charlotte’s no-nonsense mother, Ethel (Myfanwy May), had many of the funniest corny lines, and they were well handled.
As with most farces, this play didn’t have much of moment to say, but nonetheless was decidedly entertaining and diverting.