Songs by Grant Olding
A National Theatre of Great Britain production, Co-presented with Arts Centre Melbourne and MTC
Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, May 21 until June 29, 2013
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review published in Herald Sun online on May 24, 2013. KH
It all goes pear-shaped, of course.
Francis (Owain Arthur), sacked from his skiffle band, signs on as a minder/assistant for two bosses – Roscoe Crabbe (Rosie Wyatt), a cockney gangster, and Stanley Stubbers (Edward Bennett) an idiot toff.
Roscoe is really Rachel disguised as her dead twin brother who was killed by Stubbers, Rachel’s idiot, boarding-school-toff boyfriend.
This modern farce, like its Italian parent written at the end of the heyday of the Commedia dell’Arte, is riddled with ridiculous disguises, mistaken identities, blunders, near-misses, unrequited love, broad physical comedy, asides to the audience, plenty of laughs and improvisation.
The production, directed with wit and pizzazz by Nicholas Hytner, updates Goldoni’s characters and slapstick to 1960s Brighton, England, and the performance style straddles vaudeville, Carry-On movies and old-fashioned, Butlins holiday camp entertainment.