first night

Key For Two

Alex Prescot experiences an evening of farce with Green Door Theatre Company.

 This is the first time I’ve seen a play in the quad of St. Chads College, a beautiful location for Green Door Theatre Company’s first production of the year. ‘Key For Two’ is a tightly written farce about a woman who tries to juggle two married men in order to solve her personal financial problems. Whilst the premise of the show is strong, unfortunately on this occasion the production itself came across a little like a school play, with those involved enjoying themselves more than the actual audience.

The difficulty with staging a farce is that the cast must balance outlandish characters with an internal logic necessary to bind the whole play together. Whilst the outlandish characters were in abundance, the cohesiveness of the piece was undermined by dropped lines, cast members laughing both on-stage and off, and some slips in accents. Charlotte Clark, as the leading lady Harriet, did much to hold the piece together, with her expressive face and sly asides maintaining the pace of drama. However, her characterisation was by and large not matched by the rest of the cast, who often opted for broad stroke performances, perhaps to accentuate the comic elements, but as a result losing much of the chemistry between characters upon which a play of this genre thrives. The notable exception to this was Uday Duggal, playing the drunken Richard, who gave the standout performance of the night and did much to raise the energy in the second act with his hilarious delivery and superb commitment to his role. 

Admittedly, the performances of the cast were restricted somewhat by the set which, whilst necessary to separate the action in the living room and the bedroom, made the latter in particular look cramped and was thus not conducive to convincing performances.  Furthermore, some cuts and changes had been made to the script - the mere fact that I noticed errors in continuity shows that more attention was needed when cutting, again undermining what the actors were trying to achieve. Don't get me wrong- the audience as a whole still seemed to appreciate the ludicrous situations which typify the genre, and there were some genuinely entertaining moments, but these often served to highlight the weaker moments which unfortunately hampered our enjoyment of the play as a whole.

Green Door Theatre Company have set themselves a real challenge with ‘Key for Two, and I commend them for involving a variety of colleges in this production, surely a sign of a theatre company to look out for in Durham in the future. However, on this occasion, I felt the performance needed more rehearsal and thought to allow it to really do the writing justice.

23 November 2015

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
Our theatre that speaks for itself

DST is proud to be supported by: PwC