Stage review: A Chorus Of Disapproval
A Chorus Of Disapproval
Harold Pinter Theatre
IN A NUTSHELL
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, agttickets.com