20 June 2002 WOS Rating: Once upon a time, and a long time ago, matinee audiences in provincial theatres on the No. 1 touring circuit used to be treated to tea and biscuits in their seats in the interval. They would doubtless have been watching something not dissimilar to Snakes and Ladders, an amusing light comedy requiring no more than a brain cell and a half and a dollop of indulgence.
Today's audiences are more sophisticated, though, and while no longer being afforded the courtesy of light refreshments in their seats, are apparently still being served up the same time-warped theatrical entertainment. Yes, the show is vaguely amusing, in a sort of lace curtain sit-com sort of way, and it sports two B-list, former TV stars in
Paul Nicholas and Ian Ogilvy, but surely they stopped writing this sort of play when (as Noel Coward would have it), my grandmother fell off the high wire?
Eric Chappell was once king of television comedy with Rising Damp, Duty Free and others. Rising Damp is still a classic of its type with class-divide plots and strong characterisation. This latest offering, however, is replete with one-dimensional caricatures and a plot involving mistaken luggage that is more or less unravellable by the end. The farce is, nevertheless played fast, under Jeremy Meadow's sure direction, and doesn't outstay its welcome.
The plot concerns a cash-poor couple (Nicholas and
Judy Buxton) who sneak a holiday at Buxton's boss's Spanish holiday villa. Unfortunately, the villa appears to have been double booked for no sooner are they through the door than in trounces Ogilvy and his squeaky girlfriend (newcomer, Rachel Rhodes, excellent). Ogilvy plays a TV has-been who still fancies himself. The two couples appear to have mistakenly picked up each other's holdalls at the airport, but then discover three-way confusion with an identical case containing a 1/2 million pounds in used notes. This may or may not belong to a gangster called 'Mad' Moon ( Peter G Reed, giving the most amusing and barmiest performance of the evening) and a man called Raynor who may or may not be a policeman. There ensues endless opportunities for mistaken identity, switching of bags and the like.
This is all played out in front of one of those ageless touring sets that flashes up "all expense spared". Nevertheless, the cast take it at a canter, run around a lot and provide some amusing moments. The one-liners are classic television comedy, not a cliché left unearthed, and the audience seems to enjoy the dubious pleasure of recognition. Nicholas plays, well, Nicholas. Likewise Ogilvy.
- Stephen Gilchrist (reviewed at
Richmond Theatre) Related Content
Score Comment Date Firstly I am not sure the WOS reviewer saw the same play as me but I did pay for my ticket which may make a difference, If I could give this pile of pants -10 I would.
Been going to shows for years and never seen anything quite as bad, impossible to believe that Eric "Rising Damp" Chappell wrote this rubbish . 90 mins of pure Pap and the 20 people in the Pboro Broadway could hardly muster a titter let alone a laugh maybe a snore (the rest of the town that stayed away certainly had more sense than me!).
My advice, Avoid this tripe like the plague. - USER: Whatsonstage.com 09 Jul 02
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Tanzi Libre First things first, it's great to see the Southwark Playhouse open again. Set halfway down New... Clint Eastwood on board to direct Jersey Boys film? Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has reportedly been signed up to direct the film version of Jersey B... Michael Coveney: Big Apple bites and Manhattan memories You should always do new things in familiar cities. Over the past few days in New York, I walked a... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... : Kendal & co in Podcast Relatively Speaking Q&A Last night (21 May 2013), 140 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers attended Relatively Speaking at the West... Kimberley Walsh & Denise Van Outen toast Tointon in 1st Night Photos: Relatively Speaking Strictly Come Dancing stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev toasted former S... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre ... Sheila Hancock shows wild side in Video: Barking in Essex trailer As this new trailer reveals, Sheila Hancock has had a dramatic TOWIE-style makeover for her forthcom... : Critics convinced by Review Round-up Relatively Speaking? Lindsay Posner's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking opened at the Wyndham's Theatre las...