Writer: Georges Feydeau
Translator: Peter Meyer
Director: Sam Walters
Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile
‘Sauce for the Goose’, written by Georges Feydeau and translated by Peter Meyer, is a joyful and hilarious farce that includes all the traditional elements of the genre as well as incorporating a serious moral about the importance of trust and fidelity.
Set in Paris in the 1890’s the story revolves around the happily married couple of Lucienne and Vatelin. Although Luciene has many admirers, chiefly Pontagnac and Redillon, she has sworn to be faithful to her husband unless it is proven that he has been unfaithful to her. Confusion ensues when an old flame of Vatelin turns up in London wanting to pick up their relationship where it was left off. Throw in the wife of Pontagnac, a mistress of Redillon and another married couple who just happen to be named Vatelin and the stage is set for a plethora of amusement, stress and muddle that makes the 2 hours and 30 minutes running time seem to fly by.
Performing a farce in the round and in such a small space as the Orange Tree auditorium must have posed quite a challenge for Sam Walters the director but he made it look easy. The use of all four entrances effectively kept the pace high as well as allowing the whole audience to see everything that was going on. The choice to represent the doors by the use of mime and sound effects must also have been a risky one but again this choice worked well and opened up a whole new area for comic moments that involve the doors. The removal of cumbersome doors and frames also kept sight lines clear and avoided any awkward scene changes. The set was also designed and utilized effectively, with key pieces being moved around the stage to signify the changing locations.
The cast worked brilliantly as an ensemble and although all the actors had their own specific characters they also created atmosphere and doubled up when needed, the audience could tell that they trusted each other and fed off each other throughout. Special mention must go to Stuart Fox whose characterization of the gentle, trusting Vatelin was engaging and highly entertaining. His relationship with his wife, performed confidently by Beth Cordingly, was touching and his scenes with the domineering but ultimately lonely Heidi (Rebecca Egan) were comedy gold. David Antrobus performed the catalyst of the piece, Pontagnac, with commitment and drive and you almost felt sorry for him by the end even though he deserved everything he got!
Overall this is a slick, loveable and madcap production that had some members of the audience crying with laughter. The staging was very imaginative and highly effective while the company seemed to be enjoying every second. This show has so many laugh out loud moments and such a witty piece of theatre deserves to be seen and enjoyed by all.