It’s billed as a comedy but Love’s a Luxury by Guy Paxton and Edward J Hoile is simply a farce in the classic tradition. Wife suspects husband of straying and walks out on him, distraught husband takes off for a weekend in the country with his best friend, assorted locals muddy the water and various uninvited guests arrive unexpectedly.
Ian Dickens’ production keeps all this froth whisking about and reminds us that this takes place in the 1950s, perhaps a simpler time than now when trains were frequent, houses had only one telephone and village people were constantly available to housekeep. Giles Watling plays the not-so-erring husband with panache – Charles Pentwick is, after all, a theatrical impresario – and there are well-contrasted portraits of his wife and an actress friend by Nicola Weeks and Jennifer Biddall.
The comedy lead is Bobby Bentley, an actor fresh from a triumph in Charley’s Aunt (is it merely a coincidence that Dickens’ next new production is of the Brandon Thomas classic?). David Callister is very funny when dragged-up as the missing housekeeper but perhaps not entirely credible as the preferred suitor of Melissa Clements’ Molly. Richard Walsh makes the most of the preposterous Mr Mole and there’s a neat sketch of Mrs Harris by Katie Evans.