Two Into One*** (Menier Chocolate Factory)

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Theatre

two into oneMaybe due to broadening of minds and shifts in the balance of sexual politics, old-fashioned farces are a bit of a rarity these days. Writer Ray Cooney is a veteran of the Brian Rix era at the Whitehall and the 1984 West End run of this play had actors of the calibre of Donald Sinden and Michael Williams in leading roles. So, dated it may be, but not without merit and much of Cooney’s writing provides a masterclass in the mechanics of farce. As usual, the Menier seems to take the view that, if it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well and they have duly delivered a sparkling production, with a superb set and a cast of seasoned comedy performers whose timing is perfection. The plot concerns Richard Willey (a Tory minister naturally), played by Michael Praed, and his shenanigans in adjacent rooms of a Westminster hotel, involving his wife (Josefina Gabrielle), his mistress (Kelly Adams) and his Parliamentary Private Secretary (Nick Wilton). As is usual with such farces, the evening is a mixture of giggles, guffaws and yawns, but, happily, the latter are in relatively short supply. The icing on the cake is an appearance by Cooney himself (now 81), jigging and even falling over, as the Waiter. Taking his bows, he looks genuinely pleased with the production and so he should be.

Performance date: 2 April 2014

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