Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CANVAS


CANVAS
Chichester Festival Theatre, Minerva
19.05.12

Three young couples, each with two small children in tow, find themselves "glamping" in adjacent canvas chalets on a Welsh farm. And as the dirt and feathers are scrubbed from the "organic, free range" eggs, so their careful social fa├žades crack and collapse.
This sort of tragi-comic exploration of middle-class angst is usually born and raised in Scarborough, so it's refreshing to welcome Michael Wynne to the club, in his first play for Chichester.
I wasn't sure about the tone at times, and the happy coda didn't quite ring true, but Angus Jackson's production was faultless, with an outstanding set, with real mud, and, you've guessed it, three successive kitchens for the three contrasting couples. And an able cast of campers.
Sarah Hadland was the cringe-makingly awful, organized Bridget, Elliot Levey her pathetic ex.
The first couple we meet, and the most likeable, were Dean Lennox Kelly's Alan, all pent-up aggression, and Lucy Montgomery, excellent as the reluctant glamper Justine. Oliver Milburn managed a nicely repulsive charm as City dentist Alistair; his long-suffering, demanding Amanda was played with a toxic smile by Hattie Ladbury.
Completing the cast were two tired children, a stray hen and Bronwyn from the farm, played with growing despair and distress by Lisa Palfrey.


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