THE BEST MAN
Warehouse Theatre, Croydon
Opened 13 October, 1992

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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