Although this farce by Michael Parker was only written in 2003 it had a certain dated quality. The plot became obvious very early and some of the slapstick type comedy did not quite fit. Despite this the director Warren McKenzie gathered an extremely able cast that made the most of their acting and personal attributes that were appreciated by the audience.
The opening scene saw Agnes the maid played by Julie Quick fussing about then when approached she could not hear until her hearing aid was turned on. This action continued throughout the entire play and she made the most of this with the aplomb of a seasoned actor.
The leading man Clifton the Butler, portrayed by Patrick Clements, was onstage for the majority of the play and displayed his acting ability when being actively kissed or ravished by the three femme fatales that he was in cahoots with.
The three delightful accomplices were Renee the French siren – Anita Pipprell, Marjorie the Texan chic – Jessica McGaffin, and Josephine the English rose – Kayla Cranfield. These three could not have been cast better. They excelled in their respective roles and their costume changes matched their unrestrained performances.
Susie the hired actor portrayed by Laura Antoniazzi was the lynch pin in the show. Her many leaps onto the settee escaping from Oscar showed her athleticism as well as her undeniable acting ability.
Connie the daughter of the deceased was performed by Maxine Grubel. Her performance was a testament to her long list of theatre roles. She was the one contesting her father’s will and had no qualms about dismissing the solicitor when it became clear that all was lost.
Stephen Bills played the solicitor, Vance, in true melodramatic villain style. There is always some character to dislike in a play and Stephen played this as it should be. His taking of the valueless painting off the wall after being dismissed identified the role he was playing.
The cast was rounded out by Josh Van’t Padje as William Davis Jr. His constant mispronunciations created some laughter from the audience who were waiting for his next mishap. His many arguments with a door that always saw him come off second best, and on the floor, was slapstick farce which he embraced.
The Production Crew all had an important part to play with the timing required such as the ‘Hearing aid’ feedback. The lighting and sound helped make this show a success with every word uttered clearly audible to the audience and the lighting illuminating all of the large stage. The set represented that of a wealthy home owner with high ceilings and stairs to the front door. The area on the walls showing outlines of paintings that had been removed were obvious from the start. The front door however could have been a little sturdier.
This is a true farce that all the cast seemed to thoroughly enjoy and for all lovers of this genre should not be missed.