1st May 2012
Four Couples, Three Bedrooms and one chaotic night, Bedroom Farce, at the New Wolsey Theatre, tells the story of Trevor and Susannah's turbulent relationship and it's effect on their friends and family.
Jan (Chloe Howman) is off to a house warming party, leaving husband Nick (Barnaby Power) stuck in bed with a bad back. Mean while loved up couple Kate (Leanne Jones) and Malcolm (Richard Elis) are preparing to welcome their guests, but their party plans are soon ruined by Trevor (Tom Turner) and Susannah's (Sophie Roberts) constant rowing.
Andrew Clarke - 25th April 2012
You would think that the clue is in the title - audiences arriving at the New Wolsey could be forgiven for thinking that they are in for an evening of frothy, albeit somewhat insubstantial comedy.
This is not so. The clue for the tone of the evening's entertainment is actually in the name of the author - Alan Ayckbourn.
He has been declared Britain's favourite living playwright thanks to his ability to dissect the complex relationships which are created and destroyed behind the closed curtains of suburbia.
Glen Peace - 25th April 2012
To sleep, perchance to dream. Though in Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce there's little chance of sleep. In three bedrooms, across one night, recriminations and repercussions keeps the occupants awake most of the night.
In one, Kate and Malcolm are getting ready for a housewarming party, a second sees Jan getting ready to attend that party, while husband Nick is confined to bed with a back injury. In the third Delia and Ernest are getting ready for their anniversary dinner. Delia and Ernest's son, Trevor, is also attending the party with his wife Susannah. Trevor and Susannah's marital difficulties will become the catalyst for an interrupted night in all three houses.
As you might expect with a play called Bedroom Farce there was a lot of running in and out of doors, jumping into beds and the wearing of nightwear - although they were sensible pyjamas rather than scanty nighties. However, the play is written by Alan Ayckbourn so, as you watch and laugh, you have to remember the other meaning of "farce" when it comes to observing some relationships- they can seem farcical.
This was a play about three very different bedrooms, all of which are on stage at the same time. The bedrooms of three couples accurately reflected their personalities - Ernest and Delia (traditional), Jan and Nick (trendy) and Kate and Malcom (chaotic).
Steve Hawthorn - 25th April 2012
Back in 1975 when Alan Ackybourn wrote Bedroom Farce Britain was in the depths of an economic depression, terrorist cells were being uncovered by the police and we faced a petrol crisis which threatened to close our forecourts; we've come a long way in 37 years haven't we? Well maybe not in some regards but theatre has certainly changed over that period so how does Bedroom Farce stand up to the demands of a modern audience?
Well if that at The New Wolsey on Tuesday evening was anything to go by then the answer is remarkably well. Whilst it's vintage is obvious and it would be unthinkable nowadays to imagine a play of this sort being chosen to open the new home of a theatre of the standing of The National, as it did on it's London debut in 1977, Bedroom Farce still provides the most essential part of any theatre experience - entertainment.
Anne Morley-Priestman - 25th April 2012
One great thing about Alan Ayckbourn's wry comedies, from a theatre management point of view, is that they're practically production-proof. Another is that they are immeasurably enhanced by intelligent staging and uninhibited performances. This is where a thrust-stage such as that of the New Wolsey comes into its own.
Foxton's set of the three contrasted bedrooms in three different houses within a small geographical locality wraps the audience around the frenetic action (Peter Rowe is the director). We are wall-hangings, affected by what's going on before and below us, but unable to take any of the characters and shake - even knock - some sense into them.