25 April 2012

Bedroom Farce at the New Wolsey Theatre

By Rachel Sloane

19 April-12 May 2012

As you might expect with a play called Bedroom Farce there was a lot of running in and out of doors, jumping into beds and the wearing of nightwear – although they were sensible pyjamas rather than scanty nighties. However, the play is written by Alan Ayckbourn so, as you watch and laugh, you have to remember the other meaning of “farce” when it comes to observing some relationships- they can seem farcical. 
This was a play about three very different bedrooms, all of which are on stage at the same time. The bedrooms of three couples accurately reflected their personalities – Ernest and Delia (traditional), Jan and Nick (trendy) and Kate and Malcom (chaotic).   

Intruding into the bedrooms is the volatile marriage of the fourth couple, Trevor and Susannah as they attend Kate and Malcolm’s housewarming party.  Trevor ends up kissing his ex-lover, Jan (who’s husband Nick is stuck at home in bed with a bad back) and Susannah dramatically storms off to his parents home and ends up spending the night in bed with her mother-in-law, Delia. 
Ernest (played by Christopher Ettridge) is a long-suffering Victor-Meldrew type, fussing over a leaking roof and over-strung daughter-in-law whilst his wife Delia (Susan Bovell) grandly assumes an annual anniversary meal means they are “regulars” and the restaurant will hold their table if they are late. 
Practical joker Malcolm (Richard Ellis) and Kate (Leanne Jones) scream with laughter as they bounce around their bedroom and its packing boxes, trying to outdo each other’s tricks, hiding shoes and toiletries even as guests are arriving. 
Nick (Barnaby Power) screams of pain and persecution-complex (“Why Me?”) sorely test Jan’s patience (Chloe Howman) and she escapes to the party.
The couple who interlink all the action is Trevor (Tom Turner) with his over-rated image of himself as being irresistible to women, and Susannah (Sophie Roberts), equally self-centred and dramatic.
I loved the play, laughed throughout at the black humour yet, as always with Ayckbourn, you felt just slightly voyeuristic as you watched the lives of these people in their bedrooms, whilst discovering little about their lives outside of the bedroom. 
My favourite scenes? When Kate gets stuck in bed with the guests coats piling on top of her,  when Nick falls to the floor trying to retrieve his dropped book and his bad back prevents him from getting back in bed until Jan comes home…. and every scene with Ernest and Delia in it – they were so funny! 
This review also appeared on www.onesuffolk.co.uk