THE Bristol Old Vic Theatre School summer tour always provides audiences around the south and west a first chance to see students from the world famous school at the start of their careers, and this year’s production has an added twist.
Director Christopher Scott has double-cast Peter Meyer’s translation of Feydeau’s famous farce Sauce for the Goose, so that the students who play the leading roles in the first half of the tour (until 24th May) swap with those in smaller roles for the second leg, from 27th May to 2nd July.
As always, the show is performed in a number of very different venues, requiring a simple and versatile set. Mick Bearwish’s cleverly captures the style of the period, 1890s France, with the doors and windows essential to any farce, moving the action between two grand Parisian flats and a hotel bedroom.
This fast and furious story centres on adultery, more intended than accomplished.
Lucienne is a loyal and loving wife, and no matter that she’s pestered by suitors, her line is clear. She will not betray her husband Vatelin unless he is unfaithful first – but if he is, she will waste no time in taking her revenge – her Sauce for the Gander.
It all starts as Pontagnac, following Lucienne to her home in the hopes of another conquest, meets Vatelin and realises he’s an old friend. Into the mix comes Redillon, a keen and long-term suitor, and then Mrs Pontagnac.
When a German former lover of Vatelin arrives, demanding restoration of unmarried rights, the cat is among the pigeons and a hotel suite is required.
It’s all enormous fun, with the 14-strong cast playing 18 roles between them (in each of the two casts).
Outstanding in the opening cast , on stage at the Redgrave Theatre in Bristol until Saturday 10th May and starting the tour at South Petherton David Hall on Tuesday 13th May, are Rebecca Hamilton as the feisty Lucienne, Erin Docherty as a hilarious Madame de Pontagnac, Ewan Black’s louche Redillon, Pippa Moss as the accomodatingly stupid and voracious Armadine, and Sullivan Beau Brown as the eccentric military husband of a deaf wife, in the wrong room at the hotel.
You don’t need to like farce to enjoy this romp, but it’s a genre growing in popularity again, and this is a fine example, sparklingly done by the young and talented company. And you might even want to see how it works in the second part of the tour.
For full details, see the Plays the Thing section, and visit the Arts Diary.