Writer: Alan Ayckbourn
Director: Robin Herford
Reviewer: Paul Downham
Despite being written nearly 40 years ago, Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn has stood the test of time remarkably well. As you watch the unfolding story, it is almost impossible not to connect with some part of it.
The story centres around four couples and three bedrooms all of which intertwine as one evening progresses into the next morning. The show opens with Ernest and Delia preparing for an annual visit to their favourite restaurant. The facial expressions and mannerisms of Christopher Wilkinson as Ernest are sublime as he impatiently waits for his wife played by Lynette Edwards to undergo her lengthy beauty regime, although his only worry seems to be for his leaky roof.
A house warming party provides the springboard for the show where Malcolm and Kate host a large number of guest including the other two couples in the melee Nick (Robin Simpson) and Jan (Maeve Larkin), and Trevor (Anthony Eden) and Susannah (Laura Doddington). Their only worry for the evening apart from not being able to get ready on time is how Susannah will react to Nick and Jan being in the same room.
The stand out performance of the evening was delivered by Simpson as Nick who during the day prior to the party succumbed to a back injury causing him to miss the night due to being bedridden. You can feel his pain as he struggles to get comfy in bed, even more so during the perfectly choreographed and hilarious book retrieval scene.
The second half of the play sees the action swap between the three bedrooms at regular intervals. This extremely complicated sequence of events is superbly played out on the Coliseum stage and is surprisingly easy to follow. A simple yet imposing set designed by Michael Holt is lit in a subtle way by Jane Barrek.
Once again the Oldham Coliseum has produced another superb play in conjunction with the Harrogate Theatre which would not look out of place in larger venues across the country.
Photo: Joel Fildes| Bedroom Farce runs until the 22nd February 2014