‘Anyone for Breakfast?’ is a hysterical comedy by Bradford lad, Derek Benfield. As well as being one of the UK’s leading comedy writers, Derek played Hetty’s long suffering husband in the BBC series, ‘Hetty Wainwright Investigates‘. Derek Benfield was a master at writing farces, skilfully exploiting situations by carefully created characters.
This two-hour farce is being presented by Harbour Theatre Inc. in the Camelot Theatre, within the Mosman Park Memorial Hall, 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park. This group has been producing high quality, community theatre productions for more than 50 years. Harbour’s latest success is Katherine Reardon who appeared in Jane Eyre a couple of years ago, and is now appearing with Judy Dench and Kenneth Brannagh in London, many congrats.
The performances are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at the earlier time of 7.30 sharp, running until 12th December. There are matinees on Sunday 6th, 12th and 13th at 2.00 pm.
Brian Mahoney’s 1980s set, is of a luxurious, country home sitting room, in a smart area of southern England. As for all farces, there were five doorways to aid with the confusion. The walls are soft apple green with an attractive frieze border. There is an armchair, a three-seater settee, and various tables. French windows with cream curtains central rear, showing a beautiful scene across the lawns (artwork Melissa Bassett). Many very good props (Cordelia Clarke). Smoothly stage managed by Marina Del Borrello.
Trevor Dhu operated Peter Kirkwood and Rob Tagliaferri’s lighting design. The sound effects were realistic and well cued by Vanessa Gudgeon.
Middle-aged Jane (Vickie Billingham), who is nervous and shy, seems be to losing out on ‘loving attention’ from her husband, Roger (Alan Morris). So, on the suggestion of her best friend Shirley (Ann Speicher), she arranges to have dinner with Mark (Ben Lowther), an attractive young man she met at her squash club.
Because her husband Gilbert (Jarrod Buttery) is overseas on business, Shirley goes to her yoga class, leaving Jane in her house for the secret assignation. Jane has hot romance in her eyes, but toy boy Mark thinks the meeting is for a simple meal.
However, a thick fog descends and Gilbert finds himself stranded in London. Knowing that his wife, Shirley, will be away at her keep-fit classes, he invites attractive airhostess, Helga (Mona Afshar) back to his house.
As the night of romance goes on, more people arrive, confrontations abound and the confusion heightens.
Tina Barker has already proven herself as an accomplished comedy director, but farce is a specialist genre and can be the downfall of even the most talented of directors. However, with the assistance of Nicola Bond this show was exceptional.
The cast were completely attuned; each knew perfectly what was expected of them. From the nervous, yet reluctant shy lover, to the slightly stooped, panic stricken, unfaithful husband working at full speed in an attempt to cover his tracks. Everyone was word perfect, superbly rehearsed – there can be no leeway on farce – and with flawless delivery.
How often do you hear ‘The funniest show this year’ only to see a mild presentation with the odd laugh? This romp had four or five laughs every minute, many of them being belly laughs.
After a miserable day at work, dealing with the general public and the tiresome task of Christmas shopping, then this roller-coaster of saucy madness will brighten you up. Booking advised.