Written by Alan Ayckbourn. Directed by Mary Jones.
March 6, 2023 at The Little Theatre
Review by Lynette Watson
Four into three won’t go, except in Bedroom Farce, Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious, award-winning play about marital disharmony.
The unique setting for this play is three bedrooms (hence the title), with all the action taking place at the same time, all visible on stage, with the focus moving from bedroom to bedroom as the plot unfolds across one night and the following morning.
Bedroom one is the domain of older couple Ernest and Delia (Adam Jones and Karen Gordon), whose marriage has descended into a comfortable relationship their chief excitement being eating pilchards on toast in bed rather than anything romantic.
In bedroom two, we find a cantankerous bedridden-with-a-bad-back Nick (Jordan Handford) and long-suffering wife Jan (Diani Gatenby Davies) putting up with each other.
In the third bedroom, the younger Malcolm and Kate (Simon Butler and Rachel Humphrey) – who appear to be the most well-adjusted – begin to realise that some elements of their marriage are not what they seem.
All three couples are interlinked by the neurotic, unhappily married Trevor and mantra-repeating Susannah (Andy Longley-Brown and Helen White), either as parents, former lovers, or friends who invade every bedroom throughout the play, leading to chaos and mayhem.
There are no weak links in the eight strong cast, all delivering the important and necessary contrast between the couplings. Little Theatre stalwarts, the dependable regulars Jones and Gordon easily bounce off each other as Ernest and Delia making the most of the comedic one liners Ayckbourn had reserved for them.
Gatenby Davies’ character grows from a slightly tentative start into the believable fed-up wife who could have been married to Trevor, while Handford’s Nick delivers a moment of pure comedy gold by falling out of bed moaning, resulting in the single sorrowful word ‘help!’. An example of Ayckbourn’s spot on observations of people.
Committed performances were given by Butler and Humphrey while both Longley-Brown and White were ridiculously hilarious.
Director Mary Jones ensured the pace never dropped in this slick, engaging situation comedy; a true Ayckbourn classic and the audience certainly agreed. I guarantee it’s a pure treat of an evening out.
Bedroom Farce is on stage at The Little Theatre, March 6-11, 2023.
Photo by Mary Jayne Harding Scott.