Review: No Sex Please, We’re British – great cast can’t save this dated farce

The cast of the Royal City Theatre Company’s production of No Sex Please, We’re British, give it everything they’ve got but they are simply no match for this bedroom farce that is as uncomfortable and lumpy as an old stained mattress.

No Sex Please, We're BritishIn a time where porn is available at the click of a mouse, the whole idea of some titillating Polaroids or “blue movies” on celluloid creating any sort of reaction is almost laughable.  I say almost because while this cast works hard, the farce simply can’t find its climax in this dated show.

No Sex Please, We’re British tells the story of Frances (Becky Hachey) who, a little bored with setting up her new life and home with husband and assistant bank manager Peter (Jarrod Terrell), decides to order some Scandinavian glassware to sell from her home “just like Tupperware”.  But instead of the glassware, she receives a shipment of porn instead, all neatly wrapped in the quaint plain brown paper and string that was the method of porn dissemination well before the advent of the internet.  Despite attempts to stem the flow, more orders make their way to the little apartment they share above the bank and the methods of disposing of it become more creative.  Adding to the chaos is the arrival of Peter’s mother Eleanor (Wendy Bollard), his boss Mr Bromhead (Douglas Newell), the bank auditor Mr Needham (Alan Cedargreen) and Police Superintendent Paul (Adrian Hughes) with a penchant for vodka.

While the play choice might be a head scratcher, what isn’t are the fine group of actors trapped in a play that should have been thrown out ages ago (much like those expired condoms that continue to accumulate in my bedside table).

Stand outs here include Sam Gordon’s take on Brian Runnicles, the hapless bank teller who is tasked with disposing of the smut who provides some great physical comedy and the two hookers (Nicole Shmashnuk and Jackie Faulkner) who so steal the show that we wish Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott would have written them in well well before their entrance in act two.

Director Ellie King does try to give us all the elements of a true bedroom farce with varying degrees of success including the requisite six (or was that seven) doors plus the kitchen hatch which all a get a workout, leaving me to wonder what Set Designer Geoff King used as reinforcement to take such abuse.

Despite a terrific group of actors, No Sex Please, We’re British is so past its prime that even for its kitsch or nostalgia value it still falls flat from its one-joke premise.  Time to check out the sales at Sleep Country.

2 1/2 of 5 Stars No Sex Please, We’re British
Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island
3 – 28 August 2010

Visit http://www.rctheatreco.com for tickets and information.

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