The Loveday House play, as the name suggests, was a compilation of sketch shows from famous television sketches such as Spitting Image and The Two Ronnies to name but a few. The performance was framed expertly by the directors Max de Young and Ben Claxton with an audition for a play, one where the sketches comprised the play’s audition pieces. An ingenious solution that then lead to various intermissions by the director (played by Mikey Nolan)- “You were great! You, not so much”. This device meant a seemingly unconnected set of stories linked together to bring a strong coherency to the performance, a rare achievement. The opening sketch, conveniently about the theatre, saw the director and Julian (Jamie Reed) clashing, and it lead into the framing device seamlessly.
A brilliantly awkward sketch followed between “Bruce”, played by a flamboyant Will Mundy, and “Prudence”, played with appropriate bewilderment by Ellie Black. The long, awkward pauses provided a perfect backdrop to the scene and the achievement of both was impressive. A complicated and difficult sketch followed which was brilliantly pulled off by Pierce and Mrs Pierce (Alex Hadden-Wight and Toni Taor), the ‘upper class’ ones, and Martin and Polly, the ‘less sophisticated ones’, played by Alexine White and Will Warner. This clever scene was masterminded by the waiter, Hector Berry, who ferried on and off various plates of food whilst trying to keep order.
“A talk in the park” followed, another complicated scene, but the humour was clear as each member of the park complains of the other’s conversation. The astoundingly creepy “Arthur” was effectively played by Robin Masters, and was backed up by the confused Ernest, played by Ally Smith. A very Welsh scene followed, enforced by the appropriately strong-accented No-ah Hathaway and B-en Gill. A very French, but very funny, Charlie Serjeant accompanied this bonkers scene (stereotypical accents galore, what’s not to love?)
One of the audience’s favourite scenes included another creepy caricature, Henry Mould’s “Harry”, who desperately tried courting “Paula” (played with pizazz by Amelia Holden). Charlie Rickwood’s “Bernice” provided sense to the situation and stopped the “drinking companions” (and there was a lot of it) in their tracks.
This play was an eclectic mix of comedy sketches that somehow held together brilliantly through the director’s framing device. The ‘theatre managers’ (Alex Brown, Henri Martin, Ed Brounger, Ed Cooper, Freddie Hamilton, Eddy Farrow and Matt Jay) expertly managed scene changes and the whole play held together brilliantly. Max and Ben’s management of such a large cast was a testament to what can be achieved with house drama. It was inclusive, well-rehearsed and, best of all, good fun to watch!