19 April 2014

Lots of laughs with Two Into One at the Menier Chocolate Factory

It is hardly unusual for me to forget why I booked to see a show by the time that I get to see it but I rarely get it as wrong as this.

Because I was at the Menier Chocolate Factory I assumed that this was a musical. It wasn't. It was a farce. A very funny one.

This was my third visit to Menier Chocolate Factory and the seating arrangements had been very different each time. For Two Into One it was laid out more-or-less as a standard proscenium with straight rows to seating. I was in the front row just left of centre (seat A17).

The place seemed to be completely sold out with a reasonably  diverse audience.

The story was a fairly simple one. A lecherous MP saw spending a few days in London, in the Westminster Hotel, as the ideal opportunity for some quality time with one of the PM's secretaries while his wife was out at the theatre. She had managed to send her husband away on a skiing holiday. The MP's Permanent Private Secretary was told to book another room under an assumed name to create a place for the dalliance to happen.

The first slip-up in the plans convince the MP's wife that the PPS is after a dalliance with her and she is up for this and cancels her theatre trip.

For the next couple of hours we had the PM, his wife, his PPS, his amour, her husband, a Labour MP, a waiter and the hotel manager moving between the two rooms with increasingly confusing and amusing results as lie after lie was invented to explain the compromising posiyion that somebody found themselves in.

For most of the play we could see the two hotel suites, each with three doors that were constantly opening and closing as people in varying stages of undress moved through the rooms either trying to find somebody or to get away from them. This was a classic farce and was very well done.

It was only while watching it that I remembered that I had booked it because of its stellar cast. This included Michael Praed as the MP, Kelly Adams as his love interest and Jeffrey Holland as the Hotel Manager. It also featured Ray Cooney who wrote and directed it.

Of the actors new to me, Josefina Gabrielle was appropriately saucy as the MP's wife and Nick Wilton was brilliant as the beleaguered PPS at the heart of everything.

The shrieks of laughter were confirmation of the success of the play. It was a fabulous evening made all the more so by the surprise of it not being a musical.

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