Thursday, 19 November 2015

"Business Affairs" by Beeston Players
Round Hill School, Beeston.

Written by John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd this is a wonderful double-entendre laden farce.

To smooth the impending sale of their failing haulage business to a pair of European businessmen, Stanley and Norman arrange to complete the deal in a suite at a smart London hotel. At the request of the new buyers, Kurt and Sven, they even arrange for the services of two “sophisticated ladies of the night” to help the new owners celebrate once the deal is completed. But Kurt and Sven have other ideas and intend to knock down the agreed price at the last minute.

All appears to be going to plan until Norman and Stanley’s wives Hilda and Rose arrive unexpectedly at the hotel to wish them luck. Things are then thrown into chaos when the escort girls suddenly cancel, and Kurt and Sven mistake Hilda and Rose as the evening’s “entertainment”. With the sale of the business at stake, the wives decide to play along - much to the consternation of their husbands - so when the real escort girls arrive due to a change in circumstances, pandemonium ensues and an ever-spiralling series of deceptions and lies keeps everyone on their toes.

Dave Roberts plays Stanley, the brains behind the haulage firm and the more nervous of the pair of haulage sellers. His accountant compadre Norman (Mark Robbins) is the less intelligent of the businessmen and comically keeps saying what's on his mind, although it's what he should have actually kept just there, in his mind. It's these lines that create many comic moments.

The wives, Hilda (Nicola Adkin) and Rose (Alison Williams) play up to their roles as mistaken "hookers" marvellously. But it's just to make sure the deal goes through of course!!

The businessmen, who are stereotypical "Schwedes" are wonderfully over the top. Kurt, played by Rob Jackson and Sven played by Gary Frost. Sven sporting a luminous blonde wig and is his country's "Iron Man", full of stamina, as is the sex mad Kurt with his role play and fantasies.

The booked "escorts" are played by Abbie Maddison (Sabrina) and Sue Frost (Veronica). These two tease and tempt Norman and Stanley within an inch (ahem) of their lives. The conversation between the two real escorts and the wives are wonderfully bitchy at times and real comedy "tarts with hearts" roles.

There were a few too many forgotten lines that needed the help of the prompt (Trish Delderfield) throughout which broke the fluidity and the comic timing of the play. It also meant that some of the double entendres went over most people's heads, which was a shame because it is a wonderfully funny play. When the script flowed though it was a masterpiece in farce, smoothly delivered.

Well directed by Larraine Maddison and a special mention to the sounds and light department of Fiona Maxwell and Jill Griffiths. Some spot on timing of the phone ring sound effects. A smart set design which did actually look like it should be a hotel room, designed by Sam Williams.

There are more pluses than negatives in this play, In fact the only negative was the use of the prompt too much, but when this play swings, it really swings. Brilliant comedy lines and there's some lovely comic timing when the script is flowing, and that's when you feel most comfortable and able to take advantage of the funnies. Naughtiness in the style of the old seaside postcard humour is always funnier with a good cast, and that's what we have here.

"Business Affairs" is at Round Hill School, Foster Avenue, Beeston until Saturday afternoon, 21 November 2015.

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