Radical retelling of infamous classic
NEW kids on the drama block Happy Idiot Productions boldly set out their stall at The Everyman’s Irving Studio with Not Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
A highly irreverent take on DH Lawrence’s infamous novel, it strays offpiste with nods to Whitehall farce and The Rocky Horror Show while retaining the essence of the original story.
Sir Clifford Chatterley returns from the Great War impotent, though no longer paralysed thanks to an unlikely legs transplant.
His industrial interests swiftly distance him from his increasingly lovelorn wife Constance, who finds solace in the arms of gamekeeper Mellors up at t’hovel in t’forest, where the play’s narrator chips in with a few dry witticisms of his own.
Perched on Constance’s arms, toy birds twitter contentedly, blankets and beach balls fly in with perfect timing, and there’s even room for a trombone turn from Sir Clifford’s nurse Mrs Bolton, before the whole caboodle signs off with an upbeat can-can.
Pacy, but poignant, raunchy, yet reflective, for all its laugh-out-loud frivolity and satire of the English class system, it’s a right old emotional rollercoaster, brimming with levity and pathos in equal measure, and occasionally it seems there is nothing left to laugh at.
It’s not difficult to feel a tinge of sympathy for Sir Clifford, but any such sadness is necessarily fleeting.
Lampoonery wins the day at the end of this innovative creation played out on an adaptable, postage-stamp of a set by a gifted four-strong troupe.