Stage review: A Chorus Of Disapproval


A Chorus Of Disapproval
Harold Pinter Theatre

More tautness and and vigour is needed, but this Trevor Nunn production is still a clever study of provincial lifes, loves and obsessions.

If Rob Brydon were to bring his immense but particular talents to a dramatic role in the West End then the part of put-upon am-dram director Dafydd Ap Llewellyn would be the velvet slippers of his dreams.

The hangdog Welshman of TV fame plays the hangdog Welshman of Alan Ayckbourn's clever-clever suburban farce with brio and eagerness.

Dressed in baggy cords, droopy cardigan and dismayed jowls, Brydon is outstanding in what is, generally, an underpowered version of the revival by the normally meticulous Trevor Nunn.

The scene is set - the light operatic society under the jackboot of the Welsh dragon - is bringing to life The Beggar's Opera, which, amid its tarts and rogues, is centred on a love triangle.

In the twee provincial society, straight from a Mike Leigh 1980s playbook, one love triangle is already in place and another is about to emerge with the arrival of Nigel Harman, who goes from flat-haired dweeb to cock of the walk as he hoovers up the desperate housewives.

The stage is crammed with stereotypes - emotional teens, vampish mares, dodgy dealers - but the set pieces are frequently lost in the fussiness of conveyor belt stage management.

Sometimes - such as in the pub scene - it's difficult to hear (the man behind me repeated the punchlines to his partner) which doesn't play to the strengths of a charming but pallid Ashley Jensen, who, in Extras, did nuanced pragmatism beautifully.

Essentially this is as silly as Noises Off but here the frivolity appears laboured and freighted with needless significance.

A missed opportunity for a starry cast straining at the comic leash.

Until January 5,


Phil said:

Are you all illiterate on this paper. Why expect anyone else to read this drivel if you clearly can't be bothered yourselves.

Perhaps you all need to go back to school....

The audience said:

PHIL Sour grapes, all because the performance gets a truthful 3 stars!

Troll Hunter said:

PHIL don't you mean "Are you all illiterate on this paper?" (Question mark.) Tsk, tsk. The quality of trolling is deeply saddening

Phil said:

Ha ha!
The difference is I'm not trying to pass myself off as a theatre critic or journalist. Shouldn't you try and be accurate, or is that not important these days? Sloppy work - or are you sensitive to criticism when you are happy to dole it out to others?

Phil said:

I'm not trying to pass myself off as a theatre critic, though. Happy to dole out the criticism aren't you but not big enough to take it?

Troll Hunter said:

Mistaken identity. I'm not a theatre critic or a journalist. Just happy huntin' trolls.

Nix said:

Phil, Lots of jolly ranting, but nowhere do you actually say what your problem with the review actually is!