Venue: Drama Barn
Running Until: 20th February
Written by: Peter Shaffer
Directed and Produced by: Katie Lambert and Sam Briggs
Peter Shaffer’s excellently scripted Black Comedy lit up the stage in the Drama Barn last night. The main part of the action taking place in a power cut opens up avenues for hilarity, mistake and chaos – and chaos definitely does ensue.
Tom Crowley as Colonel, the hard and painfully straight father of bride to be Carol (Edith Kirkwood), was fantastic. His face, not once betraying any trace of a smile, was hilarious for this reason alone, and the fear that was instilled into Brindsley (Freddie Elletson) was duly felt by us as an audience. Kirkwood and Elletson as the central characters proved their skills in comedy; Kirkwood’s facial elasticity, combined with a perfected irritation of a voice sat perfectly in her white patent heels and tea dress. Elletson gave another solid performance. Endearing, amusing, and hapless, he was the epitome of a man who merely tries to please everyone; bearing with sterling conviction large quantities of water.
Sam Lawson’s poised and fashionably dressed Harold was a stereotypical caricature of a homosexual man. His accent was maintained throughout as was the placement of his cream scarf, Lawson showed comedic competence, and succeeded in being an enjoyable addition to the characters. Sadly the professionalism of the play was slightly let down by Steph Bartlett as Miss Furnival in places, as it was apparent that she found the events of the evening amusing, perhaps even more so than we did.
As with any comedy, there is a tendency to over play certain aspects; Black Comedy was guilty of this in places. However, it did not detract from the fact that the main purpose of this play is sheer enjoyment. The surprising and highly effective set and lighting design merely added to the colour and vibrancy that was present on stage, and the attention to detail regarding this was impressive.
Co-directors and producers Katie Lambert and Sam Briggs are owed praise for their first Drama Barn endeavour. Although much of the idea was already set due to it being a well known piece, they showed clever and intuitive direction that engaged well with the theme and target. It was also obvious that a great deal of work had gone into sourcing every single lampshade York possesses.
You cannot help but be infected by the fun and hilarity that takes place on the stage. In short, it is a well executed farce that delivers exactly what it promises. I recommend seeing it while you can – although you may want to bring a torch.