Double Double, Southwold

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Very fishy! Red herrings by the cran! Philippa, played with long legs and a lot of class trawls in a Scottish drifter, and soon has him netted in a mesh of intrigue.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Very fishy! Red herrings by the cran!

Philippa, played with long legs and a lot of class by Paula Stockbridge, trawls in a Scottish drifter, the versatile Michael Shaw, and soon has him netted in a mesh of intrigue.

In the style we expect of Jill Freud & Company, the action is set on a solid stage. Its realism is all the better when we see it as the foundation for symbols. With a cast of just two – well, give or take – Michael Napier Brown directs the pace without seeming to hurry and does not squander any chance for a laugh or even a tear.

First performed in London in 1986, the play is the work of Eric Ellice and Roger Rees. Quite why they trouble to fill out the script with echoes of Shakespeare and even the late-Victorian dramatist Arthur Pinero is a bit of a puzzle.

Odd situations, enigmatic characters and emotional tension create plenty of interest without these extras.

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Between each of the five scenes, laughter gives way to a buzz of discussion. What has been happening is clear, and pretty strange it seems though just about this side of probability. But where will it all lead? Even at the end, you may be left wondering.

Just one tip: even when the chips are down, don't forget that pinch of salt.

t Double Double is part of the Southwold Summer Theatre season.

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