Reviewed by David Smith
Rob Andrews did well to capture the essence of farce in this amusing sitcom-within-a-sitcom by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke. His sound direction guaranteed the necessary fast pace, especially in the second Act.
Much of the humour came from rapid one-liners which were generally well handled. The four main characters were well cast.
The comedy was enhanced by the two sets of contrasting pairs: the married couples as well as, separately, the men and the women. Damon Hill was a fussy, ever-busy Charles who made much of his gags, although his drunken scene was less convincing. Chris Galipo had some very strong moments as his wife Doris. Apart from the straight delivery of her one-liners she excelled when using silence and subtle gestures. That served as a strong contrast to the saucy Beryl, energetically and archly played by Hayley Mitchell.
Frank Cwiertniak was a commanding presence. His timing was impeccable, which is essential in farce, and his dour North-country demeanour and stillness made for some very funny scenes with all three of the other central characters.
The set was well devised. While basically split between the two households, it made every use of the small stage, and was perfectly credible, particularly in the Act 2 when the action and transitions gathered pace. This was a good example of Tea Tree Players’ accustomed lightly humorous theatre. With the minor exception late in Act 1 when the gags wore a bit thin, the audience heartily and loudly showed their appreciation throughout the performance.