20 January 2020

Ten Times Table at Richmond Theatre was good light entertainment

These days I have to have a good reason not to see something at Richmond Theatre and a play by Alan Ayckbourn is more of an attraction than a deterrent so Ten Times Table was a no-brainer.

The first night discount available with my ATG card meant going on a Monday, not a regular theatre night for me, and it also meant paying just £17 for my usual seat Dress Circle A25.

The story of Ten Times Table is fairly simple, a committee charged with organising a folk festival splits into two violently opposed camps as they rein-act a local historical event. It is class war laid bare.

The comedy comes from the cast of characters each of which has a defining feature from pedantry to nervousness. There was no subtlety behind their exaggerated veneers.

The actors each made the most of what they had to work with and I particularly admired Roberts Daws as the perpetually worried chairman who lost control of the situation and knew it.

The mix of a simple story and simple characters makes it sound like a 1970s ITV sit-com and that is exactly what it felt like to me.

Ten Times Table was funny, and at times it even made me laugh, but it was insubstantial humour with no intelligence behind it. This is not Relatively Speaking which I loved (twice). It was worth the £17 I paid to see it but not a great deal more than that.

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