Review: Bedroom Farce, Tivoli, Wimborne
ALAN Ayckbourn’s dateless 1975 play Bedroom Farce continues to delight audiences across the English speaking world.
Set over one seemingly endless night, there are three bedrooms always on stage, as the action moves between them.
Wacky lovebirds Kate and Malcolm have invited their friends round for a party, but they are not ready for the early arrivals.
Jan leaves husband Nick at home in bed, hypochondriacally nursing a bad back, while she goes to the party.
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Delia and Ernest go out for dinner, but come home with empty wallets and stomachs, and settle down to pilchards on toast in bed.
And then there are Susannah and Trevor, whose volatile marriage is legendary. Trevor is Delia and Ernest’s son, and Jan’s ex. Trevor and Delia much preferred Jan, but Delia feels she must support the distinctly weird Susannah.
Not content with fighting and ruining the party, Susannah turns up at the home of her in-laws in the small hours, and turfs Ernest out of bed while she confides in Delia.
Trevor first says he wants to stay with Kate, and then moves on to explain his relationship with Jan to the stricken Nick ... and all at 3 in the morning!
But that’s not all, as Ayckbourn unfurls more sails of human idiocy in this excruciatingly funny play.
It’s a staple for amateur dramatic societies, but in this production (by Dramatic Productions) the perfect timing and skillful characterisation refurbishes the play to its full glory, as Wimborne audiences discovered. Frank Holden directed with a keen eye for detail, and his terrific cast ensured a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all.
Patricia Garwood’s beautifully fey Delia was ideally matched by Lee Tilson’s puzzled Ernest. Rebecca Legrand and Chris Wright were the scatty partygivers, with Tara Dominick as the sensible Jan and Russell Biles as the long suffering and bedbound Nick.
Alan Colclough’s hilarious Trevor had his best moment explaining, with marvellous handsignals, the psychological state of his relationships.
And company founder Sasha Paul proved again her versatility as the lumpy Susannah, given to chanting self-help mantras as she blundered through peoples’ lives.
This was a production that proves just what a skilled and entertaining playwright Ayckbourn is - something that can get horribly lost by directors and companies who think his work is an easy option. GP-W