Above: Julia Leif, Lesley Davis and Sally Jenkins
Key for Two
By John Chapman and Dave Freeman
Directed by Chris Guyler
Sunnybank Theatre Group
Corner of Mains and Beenleigh Roads
Season February 19-March 5. Bookings: 07 3343 3964 or www.stg.org.au
The company is 50 years old and for its 2016 season chose plays successful in each decade. Key for Two was the play I saw. It is a riotous English farce, a style that STG has done so well over the decades, and nothing has changed. The company still does a great job with the style. This one had the audience laughing out loud and long as the six actors created believable characters in a crazy situation that ended in beautifully organised chaos.
The pace, particularly in the second act, was hectic as disaster upon disaster erupted on stage, but no one gabbled their lines and no one lost character.
It made me laugh a lot too.
Harriet is a divorcee who lives in an expensive Regency flat in the UK seaside city of Brighton. She is fact a ”kept woman” who has two lovers, both married men, who spend the night in her bed once a week on different days of the week. They are kept in order by the threat of the wrath of Harriet’s fictional wowser mother
These men, unknown to each other, pay all of Harriet’s expenses. This idyllic situation has been going on for two years with Alec, the fishing trawler owner from the north of England and advertising guru Gordon who keeps chickens in his back yard. So Harriet is well supplied with eggs and halibut.
Then enter Harriet’s friend Anne, on the run from her drunken husband Richard and from then on things start to unravel; a twisted ankle leaves Gordon housebound, then sundry wives and husbands turn up unannounced and Harriet, quite brilliantly, lies her way through the morass with smiles, a quick wit and a disarmingly honest tone to her voice.
It was a funny and nostalgic trip with a twist for me.
Back in the 1991 production I was in the cast as the fishy Alec and my Harriet was played by Lesley Davis, Fast forward 25 years and Alec was played with terrific comic timing and a great northern English accent by Jason Lawson and Harriet, in an excellent reprise performance, was played by Lesley Davis. Twenty-five years on she was still a believable object of middle-aged male desire.
The henpecked husband Gordon was nicely played by David Richardson, although at times he did seem to work harder on his upper-class accent than his characterisation.
Mind you the scene between him and Alec, both having no idea who the other was, was one of the funniest of the night.
Julia Lefik played Anne. She started a little nervously, but soon got into her stride as the flirty friend who seemed to have an eye for Gordon. As in all British farces someone has to strip down to their underwear, this time it was Anne and she had a few male eyes popping as she did so.
Nathaniel Young played Anne’s husband Richard. He was a good drunk, not too over the top.
Sally Jenkins created an oddball Magda, wife of Gordon, while Dee Heath was Mildred, Alec’s wife. She was a bit too much of a fishwife for me, not quite the bride of a bloke who owns a fishing fleet.
But all in all a great night was had by all.