Review: How the Other Half Loves at Cambridge Arts Theatre

How the other half loves Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: PAMELA RAITH

How the other half loves Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: PAMELA RAITH

Alan Ayckbourn’s play How the Other Half Loves – at Cambridge Arts Theatre until November 4 – is a fun and entertaining show, writes James Marston.

How the other half loves Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: PAMELA RAITH

How the other half loves Cambridge Arts Theatre. Picture: PAMELA RAITH

Things were different back in 1969.

The class system was very much in evident, divorce was still frowned upon, men and women lived out traditional roles, people called each other instead of texting....

How the Other Half Loves is a comedy of errors that remind us however much the world might have changed people still jump into bed with people they perhaps shouldn’t.

Fiona Foster - affluent, middle class and middle aged - is having a dalliance with Bob Phillips - young, newly married, handsome, on the up, and also her husband Frank’s employee.


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Set simultaneously in two homes and exploring the nature of two marriages, the play is concerned with Bob and Fiona’s clumsy and half hearted attempts to cover up their affair by embroiling the dull and socially inept William and Mary Featherstone.

Acted with precision by a hugely talented cast - not one of them put a foot wrong in a highly complex script - and full of humour, How the Other Half Loves is more farce than serious social comment but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Directed by Alan Strachan, this play is cleverly pulled together and uses physical movement to get the story across as well as relishing in the naturalistic dialogue the playwright has provided. Charlie Brookes as Teresa Phillips and Caroline Langrishe as Fiona Foster are both a joy to watch.

As the action comes to a climax - over two simultaneous dinner parties in a superbly directed piece of theatre - the three marriages come under stress and strain of infidelity, lack of attention, and controlling behaviour.

But by the time the curtain goes up things are patched up, lessons are learnt, issues are muddled through and life goes on.

A fun and entertaining show.

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