That period chimed well with my listening at that time with BBC Radio Drama broadcasting (or rebroadcasting) many classics including works by Jane Austen that I had not read previously. These were mostly stories of class and love which set my expectations for The Lottery of Love.
These expectations were quickly met.
The thin premise of the play was that a well to do couple, who had never met, were being steered towards each other by their parents but both wanted to be sure of the other first and both came up with the plan of swapping places with their maid/manservant to observe the manners of the other from a more lowly position.
This was explained to us at the start of the play so there were no surprises for us. The only other people in on the double deception were the woman's father and brother.
I had anticipated the plot even before its early announcement and it maybe that I had seen the play before or, possibly, another play with a similar theme. No matter either way, the plot was largely immaterial, which was just as well as all that happened was that the two couples (the two gentlefolk and their two servants) spent an hour and a half confessing their undying love between them despite the clash in positions that they all that there were.
So far it does not sound as if The Lottery of Love had much in its favour, and that was true, so it is just as well that the acting was sumptuous.
These were simple characters with simple emotions so the actors were not called upon to do very much but what they did do was ham it up magnificently.
The father skipped in delight at the mischief, the women fanned their faces in awe of attractive men, the servant come gentleman was outrageously extravagant in his movement and gestures. In stark contrast the gentleman come servant was calm and resolute to a degree that no human being ever could be.
The acting lifted the light production and made it something genuinely and constantly entertaining. A welcome jolly end to the week.
The Lottery of Love was fun but it again left me wondering why Orange Tree was putting on plays like this. I go to the theatre to be entertained and I also go to be stimulated and challenged and The Lottery of Love was far too fluffy to do that. I expect fluffy entertainment at places like Richmond Theatre (and they do it well) and I expect more from Orange Tree.
After many years of being an Orange Tree regular I have reluctantly decided not to go to every show there automatically, each play has to win my time on its merit and has to compete with the more consistent offerings from places like Theatre503.