Saturday, 21 December 2013

How the Other Half Loves at The Pavilion Theatre

Annette Dix, Ben Freeman, Leigh Scanlon, Lauren Vincent and Christopher Bancroft in 'How the Other Half Loves'. Courtesy of The Pavilion Theatre.

How the Other Half Loves
Cast: Annette Dix, Leigh Scanlon, Christopher Bancroft, Larry Murphy, Ben Freeman and Lauren Vincent
Director: Dave Went
The Pavilion Theatre: November 22 - December 14, 2013

How the Other Half Loves
presents an insight into the lives, and loves, of two couples. We have Fiona and Frank Foster, a rich, well-to-do couple, whose concerns range from what to wear to the breakdown of an electronic toothbrush and Teresa and Bob Phillips, a middle class family with a small child who have turned bickering into an artform. You might ask how such different couples would have anything in common, you see Frank is Bob's boss and as you soon discover, Bob is having an affair with Fiona.

Lies and deception are everywhere as both Fiona and Bob attempt to explain to their spouses where they were so late on a week night. To cover their own indiscretions a story is fabricated implicating another co-worker of Bob's, William Featherstone, implying he is the one actually having an affair and that Fiona was comforting his wife Mary while Bob took him out drinking. Unbeknownst to Fiona, Frank has invited the Featherstone's over for dinner and it seems Teresa has done the same.

What proceeds is one of the cleverest and most entertaining dinner sequences I have ever seen enacted on stage. While the dinners occur on separate nights, they are performed simultaneously, with the Featherstones rotating on chairs to demonstrate which dinner they are engaged in at any one time. While they are with the Fosters, Teresa is silent and while they are listening to Teresa curse her husbands very existence the Foster's are quiet. This is done seamlessly and is by far the highlight of the play. It is a credit to the skill of the actors that this appears so effortless.      

Christopher Bancroft and Annette Dix in 'How the Other Half Loves'. Courtesy of The Pavilion Theatre.

The cast are outstanding and the dynamic between all the characters is believable and effortless, however a special mention must go to Christopher Bancroft as Frank Foster whose portrayal of the dottery and exasperating businessman is often a scene stealer. 

Almost as important as the actors is the set design. The stage is divided into two apartments where it is the set design and object arrangement, not physical boundaries, that differentiate between the two spaces. By designing the stage thus, it makes the play more dynamic, more comical and infinitely more engaging. Therefore praise must be given to set designer Maureen Cartledge whose concept elevates this production into something extraordinary.       

Larry Murphy in 'How the Other Half Loves'. Courtesy of The Pavilion Theatre.

Check out other reviews of Pavilion Theatre productions.

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