26 June 2003
Vicars in anoraks, honeymoons in Fleetwood. We're in familiar comedy country here. But Writtle Cards have skipped Ayckbourn and Bennett in the dramatists' directory and ended up with Chinn.
It's a mixture of gentle comedy and pathos says director Bill Piggott. It's an insubstantial confection of caricature and cliché, we reply.
It wasn't badly done, but you'd need much harder work from a much better cast to squeeze laughs from these lame one-liners.
Liz Smith had the best of the a varied crop of Northern accents as the worldly-wise neighbour, and Peter McManus did a nice drunk routine as the hunky virgin who eventually marries his drippy betrothed - a senior sales executive with the Gas Board - played by Sarah Wilson. Jeremy Pruce kept his hat on throughout as the bigoted father-in-law-to-be, ably supported by an assured performance from Barbara Llewellyn.
I liked the split stage which came into its own in a strong final confrontation, and there were many promising moments - Yvonne eating crisps as she was fitted for a truly hideous frock, for example. But other opportunities, like her narrow escape from Stanley's randy hands, went for almost nothing.
In this, Writtle Cards 35th year, Wodehouse comes to the Village Hall in October in a brand new adaptation of Much Obliged Jeeves.