The Customs House, South Shields
It's no wonder Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood are invited back time and time again to display their writing talents at The Customs House; if all their work is a good at this revival of Raising The Stakes, I can't blame Executive Director Ray Spencer for asking for more.
Spencer takes the lead as Bob, a reformed horse racing gambler, whose wife, Shirley (played by Angela Szalay) keeps a close eye on the purse strings, even more so with a new house and now no job. But with money tight, the arrival of opportunist lodger, Clark (Louis Roberts) has the residents of the Fletcher house all of a flutter, in more ways then one.
Spencer and Szalay's chemistry make the play the success that it is, immediately launching in their husband/wife sitcom, creating likeable (and even loveable) characters with their quips and jibes that roll off the tongue.
The jokes are fast, funny and there's plenty of them, but none are predictable or laboured. The story is cleverly inter-weaved with minor sub plots, bringing the Fletcher's world to life.
Not for those easily offend by choice language or Ann Summers' products (both having a significant role in the comedic success of the show), Raising The Stakes is a faultless example of comedy at its best.