Chaos and confusion keeps audience in hysterics

Cast, left to right, Clive Oates, Nicci Smith, Jarrod Campbell, Linz Franklin, background, rehearse a scene from Key for Two.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

Cast, left to right, Clive Oates, Nicci Smith, Jarrod Campbell, Linz Franklin, background, rehearse a scene from Key for Two.

Key for Two

New Plymouth Repertory

Tuesday, August 8

On stage with Clive Oates and Nicci Smith.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

On stage with Clive Oates and Nicci Smith.

Reviewed by Jo Hills

Outrageous chaos and confusion keep multiplying at alarming rates during New Plymouth Repertory's current production Key for Two.

The opening night audience loved the absolute absurdity of it all. I heard one patron declare that she never usually laughed out loud but with this comedy she just couldn't help herself.

With battered fish, a continually emptying vodka bottle, a divorcee doing 'double shifts', a mythical mother, a pair of lovers, a best friend, two irate wives, a drunk and a pop-up nursing home, the play has enough zany characters, situations and incredulous twists and turns to leave both the cast and audience gasping for breath amidst the resulting muddle.

The script by John Chapman and Dave Freeman has a very busy storyline full of witty quips. One crazy story leads to another even more ridiculous tale which results in total pandemonium.  A  swinging door, similar to a saloon door from a Western movie, makes up part of the set. Like a volley of quick-fire shots, the door opens and shuts on a variety of scenes and people which all eventually lead to complication galore. You are caught up trying to sort out just who belongs to who in the resulting turmoil.

Under the directorship of Terry Darby and Jenny Lawn the cast have definitely brought out the farce in this comedy. Jarrod Campbell, Nicci Smith, Clive Oates, Katherine Lowe, Lindsay Franklin, Jan Franklin and Lyn Buxton give extremely exaggerated portrayals of their characters. Such overstated acting runs the risk of going terribly wrong, but in this crazy bedlam it works well.

Adding to this mix are some eye-catching costumes, a very serviceable, detailed set and effective lighting and sound. It all combines well for a fun night out where you'll find you just have to join in the laughter and frivolity. Key for Two continues until August 19.

 - Stuff

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