REVIEW - BEDROOM FARCE
Score (out of five stars) ****
Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn Running at Windsor's Theatre Royal until Saturday, June 25 Only Alan Ayckbourn could come up with a play set in three bedrooms - switching the action between them.
Bedroom Farce is one of his early works and one of many to utilise a cute gimmick like that to maximum comic effect.
An ideal choice in fact for the current season of plays being performed in repertory at Windsor's Theatre Royal.
Any cast performing this has to tread a fine line. It is easy to let the characters become caricatures, as a rowing pair wreak havoc in the lives of three other couples - invading each of their bedrooms in turn.
Nothing sexual about it. The other couples mainly just want to get to sleep. But they are constantly woken up as the neurotic Trevor and Susannah turn up on their doorstep, looking for comfort or a bed for the night.
Perhaps the most delightful of these couples are long suffering Ernest and Delia - brought to life in all their middle-class, well bred charm by Bridget Lambert and James Pellow.
James Pellow's performance of amiable confusion and mild irritation is beautifully balanced by Bridget Lambert's portrait of no nonsense bemusement as her bed is invaded by demented Susannah.
Ethan Chapples has wonderful moments as bed ridden Nick, hilariously moaning about his bad back. An extended wordless sequence - involving his agonised attempts to retrieve a book without falling out of bed earns some of the best laughs in the whole show.
It provides a welcome burst of purely physical comedy.
As the ghastly Trevor and Susannah, Mark Laverty and Jessica Kent are allowed to go over their top by director Lillie Collier, maybe a little too much.
Maybe the playwright intended us to want to murder them.