Sunday, 13 November 2016

Box and Cox, Papermoon, Theatro Vivaldi

Dinner theatre is sometimes a little bit mocked - it can fall into that awkward position of being mediocre at both. Vivaldis, though never really has - their shows are high quality, the food similarly so, (and most importantly they observe the essential "the food and the entertainment are separate things and should not overlap" rule).

"Box and Cox" is a Victorian era short comedy - often used as a "curtain raiser" or opening sketch for a longer evening of several plays - it was considered a grand hit of the period (including getting a musical version with tunes by Arthur Sullivan) but is mostly forgotten today. The simple setup is that two lodgers - the somwhat dandyish hatter, Cox, and the more morose printer, Box - have been unknowingly sharing the same lodgings, with one using the room during the day while the other one works at night and vice versa, and their landlady Mrs Bouncer taking two sets of rent quite happily. Inevitably, they meet and discover the ruse, and further shenanigans follow. It's all kinds of ridiculous, and frequently unlikely, but there's enough in there to sustain around a 45 minute time and to give actors a grand opportunity to be fairly silly.

This isn't the tighest-directed of farces, and does show slight signs of being under-rehearsed, but by and large the performers pull off the characters pretty well - Jim Adamik has just the right level of dignity to be reasonably crushed later as Cox, while Graeme Robertson has a Eeyore-ish charm as the woebegone Box. Elaine Noon pops in and out as the untroubled-by-ethics Mrs Bouncer being appropriately impertinent. The set by Ian Croker is unusually substantial for a Vivaldi's performance but allows enough space for the cast to manoeuvre around.

All in all this is a very light night's entertainment with a few giggles and some good quality nosh.

No comments:

Post a Comment