BEDROOM FARCE Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl 3 October 2014

 

"People had said to me that I'd set plays everywhere but in the bedroom and I got to think about them and became fascinated by what people do in bedrooms - I don't mean all that ho, ho risqué stuff, but the curious pastimes people take up. Just asking round my friends produced people who played Scrabble, elaborate quiz games, read all night or even in one instance, passed the time making furniture."
(Alan Ayckbourn, Birmingham Post, 1 January 1977)

 

First performed in June 1975 at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, Bedroom Farce was the first Ayckbourn play performed at the National Theatre, London and a clip from the play with those tour de force (or should that be farce) actors Penelope Wilton and Nicholas Le Provost was a feature of the televised celebration of the theatre’s fiftieth anniversary. This Black Rat production is the latest of several revivals.

Bedroom Farce takes place over one night and the following morning in three bedrooms, all within view on the stage. The play starts with bedridden Nick, played by Richard Tunley, who is feeling very sorry for himself, but swiftly moves on to the bedroom of Ernest (Dudley Rogers) and Delia (Christine Pritchard). This couple, representing the older generation, were eventually to become embroiled in the misadventures of their son and daughter-in-law and their group of friends.

 

Ernest and Delia are getting ready for a rare night out for their anniversary, but Delia is worried about their son Trevor (Gareth John Bale), and daughter-in-law Susannah (Llinos Daniel). Delia believes he should have married the more ‘resilient’ Jan (Lynne Seymour).

 
The other bedroom is that of Malcolm (Keiron Self) and Kate (Lizzie Rogan) and is being used as a cloakroom for the guests that are arriving for their party.

The play exposes and develops several nuances of married life that have been knowingly or unknowingly festering under perceived relationships.

 

Malcolm and Kate provide most of the buffoonery and horseplay that is fundamental to a farce. They play tricks on each other that are infantile both in concept and delivery but still amuse the audience. Matching Keiron Self and Lizzie Rogan to the roles and each other is a masterstroke, both having a propensity for portraying awkwardness and underachievement.

 

A good farce always has jealousy as one of its markers and this is well in evidence in the play. For example, Jan is off to the party and leaving husband Nick bedridden and helpless to prevent any possible assignation between her and her ex Trevor. The turmoil going through Nick’s mind is clearly visible and his peace of mind isn’t helped by Lyn Seymour’s cheeky and promiscuous portrayal of Jan.

The physical side of Trevor and Susannah’s marriage scales new heights when they meet in the ‘cloakroom’ at the party. Successful farce relies partly on the comedy being very physical. Gareth John Bale (a potential Rhod Gilbert impersonator?) and Llinos Daniel’s fight keeps that facet very much alive. One of the oldest comedic traditions was skilfully handled with rough aplomb.

On a more genteel note Dudley Rogers’ performance was outstanding, he was precise, articulate and his timing was immaculate. Christine Pritchard reminded one at times of Mrs Bucket but with the refined edges roughed up.

 

 

The structure of a farce is critical. Things have to happen with precision and they do due to diligent direction and an all-together cast.

Bedroom Farce is ridiculously funny and emotive. It is a great night out for anyone but especially those with voyeuristic tendencies.

However after you have seen it for yourselves you may want to reflect on what Eminem has to say:

 “Ultimately, who you choose to be in a relationship with and what you do in your bedroom is your business.”

 

 

GOODNIGHT

 

 

 

Bedroom Farce is on tour during 2014 at the following venues:

 

SEPTEMBER

Tuesday

31

Blackwood Miners' Institute

7.30pm

01495 227206

OCTOBER

Wednesday

1

Blackwood Miners' Institute

7.30pm

01495 227206

Thursday

2

Blackwood Miners' Institute

7.30pm

01495 227206

Friday

3

Grand Pavillion, Porthcawl

7.30pm

01656 815995

Tuesday

7

Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli

7.30pm

01758 704088

Wednesday

8

Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay

7.30pm

01492 577888

Friday

10

Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

7.30pm

01873 850805

Saturday

11

Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

7.45pm

01874 611622

Wednesday

15

The Metropole, Abertillery

7.30pm

01495 322510

Thursday

16

Pontardawe Arts Centre

7.30pm

01792 863722

Friday

17

Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan

7.30pm

01239 621200

Saturday

18

Theatr Hafren, Newtown

7.30pm

01686 614555  

Monday

20

Congress Theatre, Cwmbran

7.30pm

01633 868239

Tuesday

21

The Coliseum, Aberdare

7.30pm

08000 147111

Wednesday

22

The Coliseum, Aberdare

1.00pm

08000 147111

Thursday

23

Arts Centre, Aberystwyth

7.00pm

01970 623232

Friday

24

Stiwt, Wrexham

7.30pm

01978 844053

Thursday

30

Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea

7.30pm

01792 295238

NOVEMBER

Wednesday

5

Theatr Halliwell, Carmarthen

7.15pm

Closed Performance

Thursday

6

Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD, Cardiff

7.30pm

029 2039 1391

Friday

7

Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD, Cardiff

7.30pm

029 2039 1391

Saturday

8

Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD, Cardiff

7.30pm

029 2039 1391

 

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Comment by Guy O'Donnell on October 6, 2014 at 10:20

Great review Chris.

@NTWtweets on Twitter

Loved #OnBearRidge @royalcourt tonight - great cast, scenography and oh that text - reminded me of all the #EdThomas plays I’ve loved before (also reminded me lots of my #Aberystwyth days). Such a joy to witness!

Loved tonight - great cast, scenography and oh that text - reminded me of all the plays I’ve loved before (also reminded me lots of my days). Such a joy to witness!

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