|"Amusingly written, with very good twists", this is a play within a play in which the off-stage jealousies and entanglements between the actors, not to mention artistic differences, disrupt the action on stage. A deliciously silly comedy in which nothing is quite what it seems and chaos is unleashed.|
The scene is a flat in London where a couple of dinner guests, Madge and her husband Charles, long-standing friends of the hosts, are in the embarrassing position of witnessing the marriage break-up of Sarah and her husband of 20 years, Rupert.
Rupert starts making arrangements for his departure from the home, totally ignoring the guests still seated at the dinner table. Glamorous Sarah treats her friends with 'attitude' and so the plot develops: Rupert demands that henceforth Sarah should communicate with him only via his solicitor, but that turns out to be Charles, who is not at all willing to represent Rupert, and allows Sarah to persuade him to act on her behalf instead. At this point Madge, who has been itching to get back into practice after a career break, volunteers to handle his side of the divorce proceedings, providing a hint that not all is well between Charles and Madge either.
Enter Sarah's mother, Mrs Cullen, to stir the problems.
Then, when the prompter feeds Rupert a line, it becomes obvious that this is actually a play within a play, which turns into a real life exposé of the goings-on and petty jealousies within the repertory company.
Madge (who off-stage is Rupert's wife) and Charles are very much in love, whilst the award-winning actress playing Sarah, it seems, has a thing for Rupert. The prompter is a star struck hopeful who has just received her precious Equity Card, the stage manager has gone down the pub, and total confusion reigns when the nurse appears.
Meanwhile slightly deaf Edward, once a talented Shakespearean actor but now a has-been thespian, is waiting in the wings, more than a little inebriated, to make his entrance, having no idea that the action has been interrupted. Due to his condition, he is not sure whether he is in the play, witnessing an actual real life happening, or whether he is still playing the Bard's scripts from 30 years earlier.
Rupert is so upset with being cuckolded that he threatens to kill Charles, but things don't start turning really nasty until the actors start criticising each other's theatrical techniques!