Caught in the Net (Sheringham)

Writing a sequel to a classic of any genre can be a recipe for disaster. But Ray Cooney has pulled it off with “Caught in the Net”.

In Run for Your Wife we laughed ourselves silly at the antics of taxi-driver John Smith as he tried (more of less successfully) to keep his two bigamous households – one in Streatham, the other in Wimbledon – content. Move on 18 years, and we find ourselves in the equally hilarious chaos that is Caught in the Net.

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Mary (in Wimbledon) has had a daughter, the now teenaged Vicki. She is also still suffering her built-in lodger, the gormless Stanley. Barbara (in Streatham)'s son Gavin is also a teenager, into motorbikes among other things. He and Vicki have discovered the similarity of their fathers' names through the internet and have arranged to meet.

Well, you can see where this is going, can't you? As John tries ever more frantically to keep the young people – not to mention their mothers – apart he enlists the not-completely-willing help of Stanley. All Stanley wants to do is to take his elderly father on holiday to Felixstowe.

Director Simon Thompson keeps the mayhem going at breakneck speed. James Hirst is very funny as John; every devious move he makes to solve his multiplying dilemmas enmeshes him more firmly in them. There's also a delectable sequence of interventions by Alec Gray as Stanley's Dad.

Richard Keightley almost steals the show as Stanley, though he suggests a younger man than someone who has occupied the upstairs flat for the better part of two decades. Emma Barron as Mary, a housewife at the end of her tether as she copes with masculine ineptitude, and Mary Lincoln as the more laid-back Barbara make their marks in more ways than one.

Our two juveniles are Megan Bailes as Vicki (why must adults always be so stupid, so unreasonable?) and Joshua Duckmanton as Gavin (could all that black leather gear lead people to jump to the wrong impression?).

As they and their elders whirl in, out and across Kees Van Woerkom's multi-purpose set, with much door-slamming into the bargain, you wonder how it will all resolve itself. The actual dénouement might surprise you…

Caught in the Net runs at the Little Theatre, Sheringham until 21 August.