Hapless MEP Philip Wardrobe has a busy day ahead of him, balancing his less-than-irreproachable political career with his attempts to start a family. As he prepares for his girlfriend to fly in from Kettering for an afternoon of fertile frolics, his plan to be voted President of the European Parliament is foiled at every turn by unpredictable colleagues: uncouth Yorkshiremen, irate Turks and amorous Frenchwomen ... to say nothing of the mysterious man in the linen cupboard.
Writer Richard Bean worked as a psychologist, model and stand-up comedian before turning to writing. His hit play Harvest premiered at the Royal Court in September 2005 and won him the Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play as well as nominations at the Evening Standard, Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Awards. Bean’s other plays include Under the Whaleback, The God Botherers, Up on the Roof and Honeymoon Suite.
Joining Fleet in Bean’s latest play are Anna Francolini (Beatrice Renard), Carol Macready (Frau Flugelhammerlein), Sian Brooke (Sasha) and Dermot Canavan (Gendarme). The premiere production is directed by David Grindley and designed by Jonathan Fensom.
Most of the first night critics, who all had a pretty good idea of what they looked for in a farce, left impressed with the design of the production by Jonathan Fensom but felt that perhaps it was making up for what was actually lacking in Richard Bean’s “unfunny” script. But most admit that there at least a few amusing scenes and some funny lines, with the actors putting in a good effort, although it’s not going to be the next West End comic hit. If critical predictions prove correct, In the Club will not be the West End’s next big comic hit.
- by Tom Atkins