Every time you visit the Warehouse it seems to be a completely different space. It's currently a dingily convincing pub in the Home Counties ("We're in Essex, aren't we?" – "Technically..."), which Neil intends to turn into a '60s shrine once he's married the landlady's daughter Dawn in a ceremony where they'll dress as John Steed and Emma Peel. Dawn, stricken with guilt and doubt about a fling with Neil's best mate/best man Phil – not to mention loathing of Neil's uncomprehending selfishness – considers ditching him at the altar. Meanwhile, architect Patrick wants to buy the pub for the National Trust to prevent its Formicafication; but Neil mistakenly believes he's the one Dawn had been... and they take it from there.
David Richard-Fox wrote the part of Neil for himself, and knows his character's crannies of unpleasantness. As Dawn, Veronica Geary carries the play's non-comic weight with understated skill. Without the '60s element, it would be undistinguished; larded with references to everything from The Prisoner via The Walker Brothers to The Beverly Hillbillies, it finds a certain niche, and with one of the most hysterically overdone endings ever seen outside the work of Joe Orton it delivers a final sucker punch.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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