Comedy Theatre, London SW1
Opened 22 February, 2001

This mock-French farce is so unspeakably dire it's not even worth reading about. It's just too awful to bother with. Please stop now.

Writer Peter Tilbury tries to ring the changes by turning things black, as the philandering doctor plots to murder the man who might blow his alibi. He also uses a lot of expletives, so that we have clean-cut Peter Davison in a tailcoat and a Bertie Wooster accent saying "fuck", "shit", "arsehole" and so on. I don't turn a hair at this kind of language, but somehow Tilbury manages to make it sound exceptionally vulgar and squalid.

The plot is simple: everyone's having an affair with everyone else, and trying to keep it secret from everyone else else. It's the most sustained piece of cross-purposes writing I think I've ever seen, with countless conversations in which each participant means something entirely different from the other. But it's woefully unfunny. Fiona Laird's direction is leaden, and Davison and Anton Rodgers will, I'm sure, not be featuring this engagement prominently in their CVs in future. The poster image is a pork pie (everyone's telling porkies, geddit?), which is appropriate in another way: this evening contains nothing but industrially-recovered, rendered-down offal.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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