Monday, 7 March 2011

Joking Apart - Review

First of the reviews is in...
The Stage
Published Monday 7 March 2011 at 10:35 by Sheila Tracy

“When you’ve got friends and neighbours, the world is a wonderful place”, according to the fifties hit song, a theory debunked some 20 years later by Alan Ayckbourn in Joking Apart.The question being - is making friends with neighbours who may be a great deal wealthier than you, a wise move?

Rehearsal (?) photo from Henley Standard
It’s open house at Richard’s and Anthea’s estate and nobody is complaining. Brooks Livermore and Cal Jaggers play the happy couple with an endless supply of bonhomie who are ready to hobnob with the vicar. Harry Gostelow gives a memorable performance as the welcoming parish priest, saddled with a whining wife, played almost too realistically by Catherine Skinner and I found myself wishing all three wives would drop their voices an octave. However, Lynette McMorrough is completely in character as the mollycoddling wife of Sven, a delightful performance from Nick Wilton as Finland’s former junior tennis champion, who warns the others of the dangers of becoming too friendly with the likes of Richard and Anthea.
Which brings us to Michael Holt’s set, a garden complete with tennis court, admittedly only one end, but a remarkable achievement on a stage of this size. And yes, we do get to see the podgy Sven serving and returning the ball.
Paul Chesterton plays Brian, the friend and business partner of the owners of the estate, and a special mention of Anna Doolan who plays his three very different girlfriends and the daughter of the house with considerable expertise.

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