Reviewed by Laraine Ball
There was lots of fun in this play but still it was somewhat disquieting and unnerving to watch a mature man in his fifties having a full blown tantrum and generally carrying on with behaviour that we would equate today with out of control teenagers.
However apparently this type of thing was the norm in Noël Coward’s world when he wrote the play in 1939 and Director Barry Hill made the absolute most of all of the nuances to have the audience laughing steadily throughout.
The story is about theatre actor Garry Essendine and his attempts to cope with his life of fame, full of girl fans chasing him, crackpot young playwrights, an ex-wife, his secretary, household staff and his business partners.
John Koch as Essendine was slightly heavy handed with the part and seemed to be more hysterical than debonair and sophisticated. The charm was missing and it was difficult to fathom what it was that had attracted all those fans to him although he did cope well with all the lines and the physical comedy.
Shelley Hampton as Garry’s ex-wife Liz Essendine was excellent as she dealt calmly with each new crisis as it arose, Julie Quick as Monica Reed did a marvellous job as the down to earth secretary and Dianne k Lang was gorgeous as Joanna Lyppiatt, Garry’s business partner’s wife with an agenda all of her own.
Penni Hamilton-Smith vas vunderbar as the Swedish maid Miss Erickson and Blake Parham stole quite a few laughs with his over the top portrayal of Roland Maule.
Set designer David Lampard once again delivered an interesting set. There were two levels and some wonderful wooden sculptural lights which looked fantastic however it was obvious that the doors only led out to a black space not to other rooms, the banister appeared to be unfinished and the colour on the walls failed to compliment the wooden features.
Costumes and hair styles by Loriel Smart and her crew were spot on though and very impressive.
Overall this play was enjoyable and a worthy effort.