29 December 2012

Sauce for the Goose at the Orange Tree

This Winter's seasonal offering from the Orange Tree was the safe territory of a Georges Feydeau farce.

Sauce for the Goose tells the story of a wife who fears for her husband's fidelity and promises that if his infidelity is pr oven then she will do the same as, I am sure you have guessed, is that what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.

The first complication comes from the fact that two men are seriously interested in this prospect and want to do all they can to convince her.

One of them is a bachelor who plays the field with some vigour and little discretion.  The other is a married man who is easily led astray, though he is normally led astray by first following the woman of its attention through the streets of Paris.

The play opens with said married man following the goose home where, to his surprise and embarrassment, he finds her husband, who he knows.

The story develops from there and, as this is a farce, it involves more and more people and gets more and more complicated. People and in the wrong place with the wrong people for the wrong reasons, or the reasons are right but are misconstrued as wrong.

It is all incredibly funny.

A funny story is a good start but a proper farce needs more than that. And this one does.

The cast, featuring many regulars, is superb. It's unfair to highlight just one of them, but who says life is fair?

Stuart Fox plays Vatelin, the gander, as a bumbling likable man who is swept along by events that he has absolutely no control over. Yes he had strayed but that was on a long business trip to Berlin so was perfectly understandable.

Incidentally some of the complications include "the other woman" and her husband but I will not spoil that surprise.

The theatre plays its part too. The intimacy of the theatre throws you in to the action and being close to the movement makes it more vigorous. It is a simple matter of maths, if the actor is standing in front of you and moves two metres then you have to turn your head to follow but if you are way back in the stall then not even your eyes have to move to follow the action.

And there are the four entrances and exits that could have been designed for farces.

All the reviews that I have seen have been extremely positive, the performance that I went to was enthusiastically received and many of the shows have sold out. This is the Orange Tree doing what it does best and being recognised for it.

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