Farce has shades of Fawlty

The Tribune (NZ) - - PERFORMANCE -

Funny Busi­ness By Derek Ben­field Di­rected by Ngaire Ngat­uere for Pahiatua Reper­tory Theatre May 19 – 28 Re­viewed by Richard Mays

A play called Funny Busi­ness had jolly well bet­ter be funny – and this Pahiatua Reper­tory pro­duc­tion hits the laugh jack­pot.

The se­quel to a play called Bed­side Man­ners, pro­duced at the Globe about 10 years ago, the set up sees the bungling Fer­ris still mind­ing the coun­try ho­tel while his sis­ter takes a break.

It’s a cheeky and ro­bust per­for­mance from Graeme Vial who by dint of al­most wil­ful mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion, man­ages to muck up a tryst be­tween two first-time would-be adul­ter­ers.

On a stage split three ways with a cen­tral lobby and bed­rooms ei­ther side, the un­for­tu­nate Fer­ris is pulled from pil­lar to post patch­ing up his mis­takes and pan­der­ing to guests, while try­ing to work out which of them is the jour­nal­ist do­ing a piece on the ho­tel.

He is ably abet­ted by Michael Mo­ran as Henry, and Emma Pelling who im­presses as the slightly ditsy and naive Judy. And then Judy’s short-fused hus­band, played by Ryan Lit­tle, shows up.

There is a lot of chang­ing rooms while Vanessa Coogan’s An­gela knocks back the gin and Fer­ris tries to keep up ap­pear­ances. Talitha Van­denberg does a nice job as Mr John­son, an old codger who man­ages to com­pli­cate pro­ceed­ings.

Not fre­netic farce this, but its deft touches and over the top shenani­gans make keep­ing a straight face im­pos­si­ble. It’s easy to see shades of Fawlty Tow­ers in this play, ex­cept Fer­ris is a much more amenable and daffy host than the up­tight Basil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.