Two into One
24th May 2018
The Assembly Rooms, Bolsover
Type of Production
Ian Simpson & Michelle Shaw
Author: Joyce Handbury
Two Into One is a 1984 farce by English playwright Ray Cooney. The story revolves around a Member of Parliament who instead of attending a Committee Meeting plans an extramarital ‘dalliance’ at the small Westminster Hotel he is staying at with his wife, while she goes to see a matinee of Evita. He persuades his PPS to book another suite under a false name so that he can meet the ‘dalliance’ who is a secretary to the PM. The hapless and put-upon PPS gets everything mixed up even more so when the MP’s wife unexpectedly returns. Add into the mix a suspicious hotel manager, a vice-hunting lady Labour MP, a chinese waiter and a maid, the ‘dalliance’ and her husband and guess what - panic, lies, confusion, mistaken identities and elaborate misunderstandings abound aplenty.
The stage is very small at The Assembly Rooms but the set design was so impressively and innovatively conceived. Initially it seemed to consist of a hotel reception area and the lounge area of a suite but with slight adjustments to the reception area two suites magically appeared with a lot of doors! It was truly a great and imaginative set with excellent props all conceived and built in-house.
Farce is a very difficult genre to pull off as it requires immense discipline, excellent timing and precision and total ‘togetherness’ and understanding from the cast and all of this was definitely achieved by Bolsover Drama Group who hilariously brought this very funny script to life.
Istvan Koszegi was excellent as the somewhat pompous, suave, totally optimistic (even when all odds were against him) and seemingly unflappable MP, Richard Willey. His wife was superbly portrayed by Louise Sutton. She provocatively tried to seduce her husband and later on poor George and was very much at ease whether being smartly dressed or sexily adorned in lingerie. A star of the show has to be Derrick Hulett as George Pidgeon the very much put-upon PPS. He was absolutely hilarious. His physical antics, his comic timing, his bumblings, his increasingly bizarre attempts to extricate himself and his ‘boss’ from the mess that they were in and the bravery shown in nearly ‘baring all’ were so wonderfully delivered - a great performance. Sue Bristowe was delightful as the ‘dalliance’ complete with fake wig and sunglasses and coped well with being hidden under a room service trolley. The appearance of her husband, Edward Bristowe, an out of work actor, caused even more hilarity and James Sheppard was definitely not averse to stripping down to his underwear at the thought of getting a job! Excellent support came from Ken Radmore as the pompous Hotel Manager, Ray Wignall was really funny as the Chinese Waiter, Angela Mitchell as the prim and grumpy Labour MP, Holly Wood as the saucy maid Maria and Michelle Shaw as the Receptionist.
Congratulations must go to the first time directing team of Ian Simpson and his daughter Michelle Shaw, also to the whole cast and to the excellent team of backstage and front of house workers. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and very much appreciated the hard work, by everyone involved, that must have gone in to making this a tremendously successful and really funny show.