How The Other Half Loves, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Alan Ayckbourn certainly draws the crowds. The packed audience at the Sewell Barn nearly laughed itself into hysterics at Jeffrey Davies' very neat, detailed and admirably acted version of this comedy.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Alan Ayckbourn certainly draws the crowds.

The packed audience at the Sewell Barn nearly laughed itself into hysterics at Jeffrey Davies' very neat, detailed and admirably acted version of this comedy as it threaded its way from unlikelihood to improbability with a relentless crazy logic of farce.

The plot? Well, it's a variable geometry play. Take a 1970s' version of the eternal triangle, add another one, incongruent of course, and perhaps a third, place them in parallel and then rotate at the speed of light. In case this should seem too obvious, all is explained with the quick-fire crosstalk that is the speciality of a master of dialogue.


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It might all be a bit too much, but the characters in this world of illusion are all close observed types.

In auburn wig and succession of gowns, dressing and otherwise, Carol Thornton keeps up appearances, while Tony Walton, as Frank, makes it plain he's baffled by them. Frances Taylor is the new woman, and almost as fed-up with the novelty as with her brute of a husband, John Griffin. As the third couple, Darren McMorran and Laura Landamore inhabit a different world that might be another planet.

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That is the gimmick of the play. Which livingroom is it? Which day is it? Which night was it? And was it the bedroom? Only Frank thinks he knows, and he's wrong.

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