The latest production by the Lichfield Players is ‘Haywire’ a farce by Eric Chappell and running at the brilliant Studio theatre at the Lichfield Garrick until Saturday 15 April.
Chappell is responsible for writing some of the greatest sitcoms of the 1970 and 80s – Rising Damp is his comedy jewel but he also wrote Duty Free, Singles and Only When I Laugh (to name but a few) and he also wrote a whole raft of plays and farces – Haywire being a prime example.
The play is set in a flat above a bookshop where the owner, Alec, is planning an illicit Easter weekend away with his shop assistant, the voluptuous Liz, in Spain while his suspicious wife Maggie visits Europe’s capitals on her own holiday excursion.
Everything seems to be going Alec’s way until the usual farce factors come to play and his plans start to unravel with disruptive interruptions from his long term student son, his ‘care home avoiding at all costs’ mother, his unmarried ‘in an interesting situation’ daughter, a seven mile tailback on the M25 – and a nauseous bilious Airedale puppy!
The Players’ cast are led by Phil Shaw as the long suffering, frustrated (in more ways than one!), world weary Alec who plays his part very well and has a host of classic Chappell one-liners to deliver which means there are laughs guaranteed in every scene.
The cast of six all perform strongly and clearly enjoy themselves, the relationship between Alec and his demanding, walking stick toting, son-baiting mother Phoebe (played, against casting, by Maureen George) is one of the highlights and even the (completely unseen) dog gets plenty of laughs!
Chappell’s comedy genius litters the script and you can see influences of Rising Damp’s Rigsby in Alec’s paranoia and echoes of Duty Free in the affair seeking holiday in Spain and there are plenty of comedic mishaps and misunderstandings to enjoy along the way.
It’s a typical British farce and is a bright, breezy way to spend an evening out in the intimate Studio theatre where can really get close up to the action and see every pained line on Alec’s face as he wrestles with his unravelling life – and with its topical theme it’s an ideal way to spend an evening (or afternoon) this Easter week!
Haywire runs every day from now until Saturday 15 April 2017 and includes a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets only £13.50 and available from the Garrick Box Office, ring 01543 412121 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo copyright of the Lichfield Mercury