ACT’s production of Bedroom Farce was incredibly entertaining and highly professional.
This intricate comedy explores the marital relationships of three interconnected couples, centring on the bedrooms of each of these pairs, hinting at the underlying source of all their dysfunction and anxiety: sex.
The contrasts between the different types of relationships in the play were communicated effectively and humorously. The actors successfully illustrated how every kind of marriage, from those that hide each other’s shoes to those that contentedly eat sardines in bed, can be subject to sexual anxiety.
Every single line in Bedroom Farce was maximized to its full, regardless of its length or complexity. For example, an entire scene constituted of Nick (Nicholas McQueen) accidentally throwing his book out of bed and exasperatedly saying ‘oh no’ elicited much chuckling from the audience.
The characterisation in this play was fantastic. Nick’s injured back was so convincingly played by McQueen that the audience members found themselves wincing at his slightest jerk or movement. Similarly, the laboured movements of Delia (Idgie Beau) and Ernest (Will Hockedy) constantly reminded us of their old age (their talcum-powdered hair was hardly necessary)! Moreover, Will Hockedy’s constant toddling from one side of the bedroom to the other gave him the air of a bumbling old man, making him highly endearing to the audience.
The mere layout of the set alone indicated at the beginning that this was to be a polished performance. Each bedroom was allocated its own stage space and demonstrated exceptional attention to detail. The beds themselves were different shapes and styles, with various personal articles such as tissue boxes and makeup bags dotted around to add to the sense of realism. Due to these minute details, the audience was never made to feel that the stage was a kind of warped house with three bedrooms side-by-side; each bedroom was quite clearly separate and distinct from the others.
Although these bedrooms were present on stage simultaneously, the actors avoided the classic fidgeting and rustling during somebody else’s scene. As a result, the audience’s eye was never drawn away from the main action of the play.
The transitions between scenes were very smooth, simply employing a change in spotlight to indicate which bedroom was next to be animated. Not once was there a noticeable disjunction between leaving one couple and later returning to them. This produced a pleasing sense of continuity throughout.
Thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, the constant peal of laughter rising from the audience says it all. I’d thoroughly recommend it.
Photography: Rose Innes