Tom, Dick and Harry
by Ray and Michael Cooney
15th – 20th September, 2008
Tom takes steps to hide things from Linda.
Tom and Harry take a breather.
Dick complicates matters further.
and just when things couldn't get any worse...Boris arrives.
A highly original, consistently inventive farce. Tom and Linda are in final stages of adopting a baby when brother Dick returns home from a smuggling trip with brandy, cigarettes – and two illegal refugees. Meanwhile Harry, a hospital porter, has embarked on an ambitious plan (involving body parts) to get the price reduced on the house Tom and Linda want to buy. The formidable Miss Potter is expected to arrive to approve the adoption and a suspicious policeman enters. Mayhem ensues.
I seem to fall in for landmarks: the last play I directed here was BLT’s 500th and now this one appears to be a Northern premiere of Ray and Michael Cooney’s latest fast-paced comedy. The West End production featured three of the McGann brothers in the title roles, and, whilst we don’t have such genetically-linked luxury at our disposal, I’ll venture to suggest that the performances of our trio of dodgy-dealing South London brothers will not suffer in comparison with those illustrious siblings.
Ray Cooney seems to have a penchant for presenting inanimate objects with a mind of their own. Many will remember Out of Order (and how nice it is for me to renew acquaintance with Mark Simister, since we acted together in that play) when a window displayed a predatory instinct for trapping people; and here we are now with a rebellious sofa bed! Farce, though, is a challenge in many ways: pace and timing are vital if one is to carry the daft plot through before the audience catches on to just how daft it really is; but space must be created for the really funny lines (and there are a lot in this play). It’s hard work for everyone concerned, and also a lot of fun, especially when some of your cast are speaking Albanian. For the play to succeed, you need a cast which is talented, committed, hard-working and willing to experiment to get the best out of the script. Job done then. Add to that a lovely backstage crew and the question every director asks from time to time- Why am I doing this?- is very easy to answer. I hope you will find this a wonderfully escapist evening: just switch off your brain along with your mobile phone, marvel at the superb acting and laugh along with the mayhem. If you leave the theatre thinking “What a great start to the season”, then I’ll be as happy as you.