Duke Of York's Theatre, London WC2
Opened 9 October, 1991

If your protagonist loathes theatre, actors and everything of that kind, it's surprising (to say the least) to find him florid, orotund... in a word, theatrical. Byron Greenwood (wince), owner of the Garstwyke Alhambra (wince) theatre-turned-bingo-hall, is such a paradox. When his Arts Council funding scam nears exposure by a visiting inspector, he has no option but to stage a real play, with hilarious results.

Or not.

Not, actually. The evening's most acute gag is the succinct summation of Council policy: "If you can prove you can run a theatre without us giving you money, then we'll give you money." Robin Herford's script is otherwise thinner than Robert Robinson's top-growth, and the direction exudes a rep homeliness (read: lack of subtlety) far too close to the supposed subject of lampoon. Hard to say without sounding snobbish, but it should never have got this far.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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