Review: A Bedfull of Foreigners, Suffolk Summer Theatres

A Bedfull of Foreigners, by Dave Freeman, Suffolk Summer Theatres, St Edmunds Hall, Southwold until July 21 and Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh July 26 – August 4

Freeman’s comedy - resembling a Euro version of Fawlty Towers - is set in a French hotel near to the border with Germany.

Heinz, the multi-lingual hotel manager (Iain Ridley) is not so much a Basil Fawlty but the MC from the musical, Cabaret, while hotel porter Karak (Clive Flint), is much more wily but just as cack-handed and incompetent as Manuel.

Guests entering this run-down, chaotic establishment not only have to cope with an outbreak of food poisoning but a bout of double-booking which precipitates a riot of misunderstandings and bed-swapping.

Thus is a good, old-fashioned comedy featuring middle aged men with trousers round their ankles pursing or trying to run away from young women in scanty underwear.

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The laughs come thick and fast in a play where the characters climb out of windows as well as beds to try to avoid one compromising situation after another.

With a stellar cast led by Terry Molloy as Stanley, a British holidaymaker, Sarah Ogley as Brenda, his wife, Michael Shaw as Claude, the philandering biscuit businessman, and Penelope Rawlins and Rosanna Milles as, respectively, his wife and mistress, this is a delicious romp to kick-start the professional season of plays at Southwold and Aldeburgh.

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Director, Anthony Fakingham, has created a fast-paced piece of theatre which will surely brighten up the early part of what promises to be a summer of gloomy weather.

The actors and set designer, Maurice Rubens, cope well with the close confine of St Edmunds Hall and the production will undoubtedly take a step forward in the relative freedom offered by the stage at Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall.

David Green

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