Thursday, October 03, 2013


Theatre at Baddow

One kid bashes another with a stick. Teeth cracked, lip swelled.
The four parents meet to talk it over. The art of co-existence is lost, courtesy proves a waste of time. Battle fronts are re-drawn along gender lines.
Yasmin Reza's comedy of manners is very French, culturally and linguistically. Christopher Hampton's translation is sometimes sloppy [who says "a former marriage" ?] and the intellectual tenor of the conversation is alien to us Brits.
So it's enormously to the credit of TAB, and director Mike Nower, that this is such an entertaining evening. Nuances of pace and mood are handled with confidence and style. Production values are high.

It helps to have a cast who know what they're doing, of course, and there are excellent performances here: Chris Piper is the lawyer, clearly not a willing participant, his Blackberry forever buzzing, talking to big Pharma as he pigs that endangered species Clafoutis. His toilet fittings duologue with Roger Saddington is priceless. He plays Michel, father of the injured party – his hamster monologue one of many delights. His academic wife [Andrea Dalton] is nicely contrasted with Sara Nower's brilliant Annette, smug, polished, until her nerves get the better of her and she throws up all over the coffee table books – Kokoschka has to be treated with Mr Clean and Kouros.
The design [David Saddington and Mike Nower] is superb. Blood red wallpaper, the colour subtly echoed in the costumes and the props.

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