Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 24 May 2017
Farce is one of the hardest of theatrical genres to do well. Ray Cooney is a master at writing perhaps the best of British farce; Barry Hill is expert at directing it; and Tea Tree Players tend to do it very well. The Players’ latest offering, Cooney’s It Runs In The Family, is no exception.
Cooney has filled his script with a multitude of medical mayhem, of which director Hill doesn’t miss making sure his cast deliver every bit of ‘may’ or ‘hem’. This particular farce is a little different in that it is not concerned with a present secret dalliance, but rather one that occurred in a hospital sluice room 18 years and 9 months ago. Yes, there is an illegitimate child running loose in the corridors and on the window ledges of a London hospital.
Apart from the, scripted, slowish exposition scene that every farce usually has at the beginning (get any semblance of plot out of the way, so that the audience can just enjoy what comes next), Hill directs the surgical shenanigans with pace and aplomb, wringing every scripted laugh out of the hilarious script (along with some of his own).
The large cast have a lot of fun with this production ensuring that we, the audience, do too. Standouts at delivering the laughs are: Mark Bone as poor put upon Dr Bonney, giving a top notch, hysterically funny, very physical performance; Adrian Heness as the multi-costumed wearing Dr Connolly; Timothy Cousins almost stealing the show as wheelchair bound Bill; Nick Hargreaves as ‘father of the child’, Dr Mortimer, getting every laugh right and showing great chemistry with Bone; and Hayley Mitchell giving a great performance as ‘mother of the child’, Jane Tate.
Good support was given by Theresa Dolman (as always), Stacey Webb hilariously ‘hanging’ in there as Matron (Hattie Jacques eat your heart out!); Rick Mills arresting as the Police Sergeant; and Karin Marks in a delightful cameo as Bonney’s mother.
Special mention must be given to young Justin Heath making his ‘adult’ debut with the Players as the illegitimate Leslie. Heath captures the rather highly-strung, emotional and loving Leslie to a tee. For someone fairly new to the stage, his comic timing is pretty impressive.
This is a nice return for the Players to what they are good at – fun and entertainment!! The laughs certainly run in this family.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre, Surrey Downs
Season: Until 3rd June 2017
Duration: 2 hours 10 mins (including interval)
Tickets: $13 – $15
Bookings: at the Theatre 10.00am to 1.00pm every Tueasday and Thursday
by telephone to 82895266 (if necessary leave a message and contact number)
online at www.teatreeplayers.com