On paper it looked like a winner: a play by Gogol adapted by Roddy Doyle. So where did it go wrong? Well, everywhere, actually. The casting was implausible and the actors did nothing but mug. Whether the script was any good I cannot judge because the delivery was over-Oirished to the point of being unintelligible. The woman next to me was asleep by Scene 2. Two men seated nearby were snoring soon after.
To criticise anything associated with Roddy Doyle is the Irish equivalent of mooning the Queen with a dead corgi clenched between your cheeks, but it was his name, as much if not more than Gogol’s, that had filled all those seats. And it was bad. Oh man, it was a clunker. We didn’t even need to discuss whether we’d leave at the interval. Unfortunately a fast exit was prevented by the fact that Mr F had parked his coat in the cloakroom and the hat-check girl was nowhere to be seen. I grabbed an usher.
‘Called away early, sir?’ he asked.
My husband looks like a theatre critic. It’s the bow tie. He even looks like a theatre critic when he’s putting a new plug on the iron.
‘Called away to bed,’ replied Mr F. ‘Worst production I’ve ever seen.’
Which isn’t quite true because there was a stinker of a Billy Budd some years ago, costumes by ACE bandages, that was its awful equal, but never mind. The usher was shocked into silence. I expect some day he’ll tell his grandchildren about the night an American in a loud tie left the Holy of Dublin Holies at half time.