Review: DDF – Hotel Charmon by Millie Glenister

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Writing comedy is no easy feat, and yet it must come naturally to Hotel Charmon’s playwright Millie Glenister. Her natural flare for comedy shines through this entertaining script, brought to life by some of Durham’s finest actors.

The plot is hectic: so much happens to such a large cast in a short hour that you would expect to be confused as an audience member. In reality, it was the opposite: I did not want the show to end and loved every minute. 

The cast are superb. A special mention should go to Matthew McConkey, Ben Cawood, and for stepping in due to issues with Covid-19. Cawood in particular did a wonderful job with his role as the invasive stranger Eric, despite the late notice – he was hilarious and knew exactly when a moment was his and when it was someone else’s. 

Bittar’s comedic timing is spot on and his confidence when doing some outrageous scenes is admirable

However, the dynamic acting duo of and truly steal the show. Bittar plays Tony, the camp con artist who is a hit with the ladies. His comedic timing is spot on and his confidence when doing some outrageous scenes is admirable. The audience cannot take their eyes off Thompson as soon as she enters the stage, while some of the cast took a while to warm up on stage, Thompson as Julia entered at her peak. Her over-the-top posh and winy British accent never missed, and her confidence oozed on stage and encouraged other actors to go for it. 

The pair contrasted nicely with the minor roles which were equally strong: ’s waitress, who was a comedic highlight. Even the non-speaking back-ups in Greg’s gang, led by ringleader were hilarious – Adam is iconic as the New York gangster keen to get his money back. 

Fidler and Cawood’s knowledge of when to allow the script to speak for itself and when to provide extra actions to develop the comedy was pristine

Directing a show as chaotic as this could not have been easy, so massive congratulations must go to the directing team and Ben Cawood. Their knowledge of when to allow the script to speak for itself and when to provide extra actions to develop the comedy was pristine. 

While some of the actors’ corpsing affected the humour in some moments, it truly communicated just how much fun this show is. With a deeply original script and stellar cast, Hotel Charmon is a must-see this Durham Drama Festival. 

Image credit: Foot of the Hill Theatre Company

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