Fast-moving fluent farce

Taking Steps @ Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Taking Steps @ Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Upstairs and downstairs and always into one or other of the ladies' chambers, Alan Ayckbourn dovetails every joint to ensure that by halfway, puce pyjamas and white sheets are not the only striking contrast.

Talk is as fast as movement, often fluent, but sometimes incoherent because words will no more fit situations than circumstances accord with character. It's a puzzle for the cast, and one blurts out that “This must all be a terrible joke”. Of course it isn't terrible, not for us.


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Clare Goddard directs a cast that brings rich diversity to a shared predicament. Matthew Pinkerton is all gormless vacuity, which naturally means that he comes out a winner, not entirely to the disappointment of Kerensa Harrison's Elizabeth.

As the hard-drinking Roland, John Vesty is the self-made man whose business achievements pale as his private life goes wrong, while Trevor Burton and Alasdair Willett add distinctive contributions.

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Paul Stimpson provides a three-decker set as solidly constructed as the plot, and Stephanie George's sound effects also have their comic tale to tell.

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