Monday, 3 March 2014

Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 8 March

I was discussing theatre last weekend with a friend and we both agreed, and I've said this in the past, that theatre should evoke some sort of reaction, whether it be good or bad, and Black Comedy does that.

Peter Shaffer's "Black Comedy" is one very funny play, nay a farce, but it takes a really good cast to bring out the comedy in any play, and that's exactly what we have here, a really good cast.

"Black Comedy" is a one act farce set in Brindsley Miller's apartment on a Sunday evening at 9:30. The play begins in complete darkness, why? because when the power supply goes, the main action is then seen in light and the actors can be seen stumbling around in the dark, unable to see each other, and that's where the frivolity begins.

Brindsley Miller, played by George Page-Bailey, is a young sculptor, and his debutante fiancée, Carol Melkett (Nicki Ubhi), have borrowed some very expensive antique items and furniture from his neighbour, Harold Gorringe (Sam Allison), who is away for the weekend, in an attempt to spruce up his normally slum-like apartment in order to impress a wealthy art collector, Georg Bamberger (Aris Alexandros Daoutis), who is coming to view his work, and Carol's father, Colonel Melkett (David Pain).

When the lights go out another neighbour, Miss Furnival (Bex Mason), who is afraid of the dark joins the crew, but home early from his holiday is Harold, who now adds to the cocktail because Brindsley now has to try and put back all of Harolds's precious furniture without anyone becoming aware of it and in the dark, with hilarious results.

Enter Brindsley's ex, or so he thought, Clea ( Charlie Osborne) to stir up even more trouble in the dark, initially without anyone being aware and finally there's confusion when the electrician is mistaken for the German arts expert, Bamberger, who has been invited to cast his expert eye over the Miller's sculptures. More comedy evolves when we learn that Bamberger is very hard of hearing and the electrician, Schuppanzigh (Chris Moseley) also German isn't.

And finally Bamberger arrives after Gorringe has discovered what has been going on and Miss Furnival, who never drinks has become paralytic with drink due to her being unable to read the labels on the bottles of booze and the whole secret about Clea and Miller has been disclosed.

The whole cast are brilliant and George, as Brindsley is a slapstick genius, very reminiscent of John Cleese, a perfect foil for the wonderfully upper class Carol, a role that I'm sure Nicki absolutely adores playing and a complete character contrast to her last role at the theatre in "The Regina Monologues".

There was a mid way round of applause for the wonderfully drunken scene by Bex as she exited being held up by another brilliantly over the top camp performance by Sam Allison as Harold.

If you like a good old laugh then The Lace Market Theatre is where you need to head to because this is just wonderful, but be quick because tickets really are selling fast and when word gets around how good this is, you may find that you've missed the boat.

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