Despite a willing and likeable cast desperate to breathe new life into the 50s comedy, the Jamie Wilson for Doctor In The House Associates Ltd and Lee Menzies production of the 50s comedy is perhaps best left as not for resuscitation.
Olivier award-winner Paul Farnsworth (Passion, Lend Me A Tenor) creates a student flat oozing with 50s detail (except weren’t TV aerials H-shaped?) and the mood music slips around the 40s – 60s but is generally thereabouts but the mercifully short Doctor In The House is also dated and that is not a good thing.
Jungle favourite stand-up turned actor Joe Pasquale (The Producers, the Wizard of Oz) is perennial student doctor Grimsdyke slipping in and out of character to explain himself and the play, and to add asides and ad libs in a pantomimic attempt to engage the sparse audience.
Big hitter Robert Powell, who needs no introduction, is an able Sir Lancelot but one just can’t help comparing him unfairly and unfavourably with the booming James Robertson Justice, and Emma Barton (EastEnders) is a convincing Vera complete with sexy French accent.
Alison McKenzie (River City) is a raucous, overplayed and oversexed Ozzy while Gay Soper, Rachel Baynton, Ha Ha BoyAndrew Fettes, Tom Butcher (aka The Bill’s PC Steve Loxton), Peter Dunwell and Phillip Langhorne round off the capable crew grappling manfully with a lacklustre series of farces. Clearly the cast are looking for amusement and provide it for themselves with off-script moments and the most hilarious parts of the evening were those where the actors corpsed.
Director Ian Talbot (Lend Me A Tenor) really needs to let this one die with dignity and let the original books, film etc maintain its legacy.