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May 2003
Bedroom Farce reviewed by Peter Orchard in The Isle of Wight County Press 9/5/03
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight County Press)

Much was demanded of the cast of Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of Bedroom Farce, what with a set divided into three and a plot in which very little actually happens, and on the whole they delivered the goods.

Programme notes that promised jaw-ache from excess laughing certainly placed a burden of pressure on the CAODS performers, particularly as Alan Ayckbourn's play largely contained the sort of subtle, conversational comedy that can leave an audience cold if not in the right frame of mind. I did not have jaw-ache as I left Trinity Theatre but I could nonetheless appreciate a solid performance all round.

Central to the plot were the troubled couple, Trevor and Susannah, who have a destructive effect wherever they go. Fortunately the action went no further than three bedrooms, so the carnage was confined to the homes of the unfortunate people whose lives they invaded.

Phil Burland was excelent as the world-weary Trevor, wandering from emotional crisis to emotional crisis dressed in a hilarious rabbit costume and successfully portraying a complex, yet endearing, character.

And Gwen Curling was just as good as the equally unbalanced Susannah, proving especially amusing when reeling off the ludicrous self-confidence speeches used by her character in a vain attempt to get back on the rails.

As always in marital break-ups the parents got involved, and Peter Maddock and Nora Crouch gave solid displays as Trevor's mum and dad, Ernest and Delia, both overcoming some nervous moments in the early stages.

Other strong perfor-mances came from Carole French as Ian, Trevor's old flame, and Daniel Cawtheray as her husband, Nick, an infuriating character with chronic back pain who attracts little sympathy from any of the others.

Cawtheray deserves special mention for spending the entire performance in his pyjamas. Any farcical comedy needs an injection of normality, and the fourth couple, Malcolm and Kate, were the closest any of the characters came to that. Wayne Child was well cast as the former, giving the impression that the role of gentle giant was one to which he was well accustomed, while Englane Read was very promising in her first lead role.

All in all Bedroom Farce worked well, both in term: of the experimental set and the interaction between characters.

But I'm not sure anyone will need treatment for jaw ache.


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