Fast-paced farce

It Runs In The Family, a farce by Ray Cooney, performed by Framlingham Amateur Dramatic Society, October 31 A graduate of Brian Rix's Whitehall Theatre Company and author of 17 West End plays, there is not much that Ray Cooney does not know about crafting farce.

It Runs In The Family, a farce by Ray Cooney, performed by Framlingham Amateur Dramatic Society, October 31

A graduate of Brian Rix's Whitehall Theatre Company and author of 17 West End plays, there is not much that Ray Cooney does not know about crafting farce. Set in the doctors' common room of St Andrew's Hospital, London, It Runs in the Family contains all the expected ingredients of the genre offering an epidemic of unbridled lunacy from start to finish.

In their production of this play, it was splendid to find the FADS company in such robust form under the deft direction of Ian Baird. The large cast of 12 actors sat most comfortably in their roles and delivered the necessary 'to-ing and fro-ing' of exits and entrances with a brisk pace that helped not only to maintain the momentum of the production but to provide the audience with some wonderfully comic moments.

It is far too easy to suggest that it is the play itself that guarantees the laughs. Ray Cooney may well know his craft, but so too do these actors and their director, bringing a delightful mix of comic characterisation and beautifully-timed visual humour to this lively and genuinely funny performance.


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The whole extended sequence surrounding the events taking place on the third floor window-ledge outside the common-room was pure joy. All involved, both inside and outside the room, (and the work of set designer Glyn Mackay) played their parts in a fine ensemble moment. Glen Hurlock and Peter Turner were particularly adept in their frantically physical use of the curtains as they attempted to hide the activity from Brian Cook's nicely understated dim-witted police sergeant.

If this was the highlight of the production, it was very nearly surpassed by the simultaneous arrival on stage of two grotesque drag matrons and the consistently funny shunting of Bill's wheelchair into the wall by the increasingly frustrated Dr David Mortimore.

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At a time when our newspapers and televisions are depressingly full of financial gloom and doom, and when the BBC can pay £6million a year to a so-called comedian who can do little more than utter offensive obscenities, it is immensely reassuring to be able to enjoy a warm and hugely entertaining evening in the more than capable hands of one's local amateur dramatic society.

Tony Lawrence

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