A Tomb With A View
Paul Johnson | 16 Oct 2011 16:04pm
The Edward Alderton Theatre season continues with Norman Robbins’ comedy-thriller, A Tomb With a View, centring on the weird Tomb family greedily awaiting the reading of their father’s will, writes Steve Spencer. The tetchy Tombs are desperate to hear who has benefitted from his millions but the arrival of unknown authoress Ermyntrude Ash and her male secretary throws them into a state of panic when they realise she is the main beneficiary. What follows are a series of twists and turns with corpses on and off-stage until the unexpected final dénouement. This play is full of quirky characters, not all of whom are who they claim to be, wacky events and even wackier outcomes. There are more convolutions than a rattle snake but unfortunately this production has less of a bite. To be fair, it’s not the fault of director, Viv Stapleton, whose committed and solid cast deliver. Put simply, Robbins’ play sometimes needed a hatchet job. The actors play with gusto and are on the whole convincing. Clive Madel (Lucien Tomb) struts around the stage petulantly, reminding everyone he is now head of the household; Shirley Andrews (sister Dora) seems as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth; and Richard Banks (Marcus) is just plain bonkers, convinced he’s Julius Caesar, hamming it up in a toga. Sara Nichols (Anne Franklin) plays the duplicitous nurse well and Eleanor McEnery (Agatha Hammond) is the excellent cool, dour housekeeper. Eileen Warner (Ash) and Mark Campbell (Peregrine Potter) play the strangers parachuted into the creepy house and revelations of their true identities add to the tension. Horry Stapleton (Penworthy), the family’s conniving lawyer, tries to keep the voracious hoard in check. However, hats off to Helen Bezer (Emily Tomb) and Linda Gay (Monica Tomb), mutually despising sisters, who had me chuckling with their consistent interpretations! Mannish Emily lumbers around on stage, guzzling food, spitting lines and mimicking others with venom; vampish Monica, oozing charm and seduction, turns out to be the murderous conspirator at the end of the day and holds on to the millions with the help of a reluctantly entrapped Potter.
- : user
- : 06/02/2010