Rad­i­cal retelling of in­fa­mous clas­sic

Gloucestershire Echo - - REVIEWS - Si­mon Lewis

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.

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