Frank More just wants to teach history. But from losing his trousers in an army transit camp in 1946 to losing his marbles as a failed washing machine salesman in 1966, will he ever succeed?
Roger Milner’s surreal three-act comedy about post-war British snobbery and double standards – unseen in London for 45 years – bursts with inspired lunacy. But like the washing machine that turns up at the end, it looks a little dated now.
Matthew Carter endears as eager but hapless Frank and Gillian Cally stands out in multiple roles as randy colonel’s wife Violet, dotty Nell and mad dog-lover Mrs Scace. But as events spiral into chaos, a mix of strained quirkiness and dubious gender politics becomes hard to ignore. There are some breathlessly funny sequences but the play can’t always hide its age.
Nevertheless, Milner’s rabbit-hole view of a Mad Hatter-ish elite who fret (quite literally) over peanuts, oblivious to the world falling apart around them, feels painfully familiar today.
First published by Time Out