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reviewed by Peter Orchard in The Isle of Wight County
(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
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
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,
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
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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