Last of the Red Hot Lovers

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Sewell Barn, Norwich


Sewell Barn, Norwich

Roses are red, violets blue, stay with your wife, that's the best thing to do.

This is the theme of Neil Simon's cleverly crafted comedy of New York life that comes just right in Valentine week.

Barney is sure he deserves a bit on the side after all those years of toil in the fish restaurant and sets out on a campaign of seduction. But things don't quite work out for Barney. Robert Little's acting is excellent throughout the entire play. It is a fine performance with hope and despair in alternation over three acts with a trio of ladies with too much on their minds to

satisfy this hilarious hesitant Don Juan.

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Kiera Long is the first to appear, worldly wise and a pretty hard-boiled professional.

She wrong-foots lover boy from the start.

Perhaps one of his mistakes was to date her in his mother's flat.

This is just the start of the apprehension that cramps his style. A dose of Scotch courage loosens his tongue, but getting talkative was not exactly what he had in mind.

A few months later, Barney tries again - only to find that Rachel Miller's Bobbi has too many troubles of her own to attend to his.

All vivacity, she bubbles and goofs - a fake femme fatale who chatters on until reality disappears into the grass (and not the long grass at that).

Third time unlucky, Barney

next tackles the middle-aged Jeanette.

Caroline Curzon makes her a bundle of inhibitions that could cool the ardour of a volcano.

And you don't have to be Freud to understand why she is always clutching her handbag to her bosom.

Mike Dunne does excellent work as director, letting the play gather its pace and allowing plenty of pauses to shape the dialogue.

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