How The Other Half Loves – October 2007

6/10

By: Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by: Alan Strachan

Company: Peter Hall Company

Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Date: Monday 1st October 2007

We hadn’t seen this play for many years, but we had enjoyed it before, and were looking forward to seeing it again. The plot is simple. Bob, who works for Frank, is having an affair with Frank’s wife, Fiona. When Bob’s wife, Teresa, demands to know where Bob was till 3 a.m. last night, he uses another work colleague, William, as an excuse. He claimed William is upset because his wife, Mary, is having a (fictitious) affair. Bob mentions this to Fiona during a surreptitious call, and she also uses this excuse to Frank when he quizzes her, only for her it’s Mary she was giving support to. When William and Mary turn up to dinner at Frank and Fiona’s one night, and Bob and Teresa’s the next, mayhem ensues.

This was a very enjoyable production. I felt the set wasn’t as clearly defined as we’ve seen before, but good enough, and the intermingling of the characters’ actions was still amazing, and very funny. I’d forgotten how the guests arrive at the combined dinner parties, each coming in one door or the other, and of course the swivelling chairs are a highlight. I liked all the performances, although Amanda Royle as Mary probably stood out just a bit from the rest – it’s always fun when the worm turns, and of all the characters, she’s the least repulsive. Marsha Fitzalan as Fiona gets about as many costume changes as the entire cast of Nicholas Nickleby, and Nicholas le Provost as Frank was wonderfully well-meaning and dangerously destructive at the same time. Good fun.

© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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