"Good, clean, original hilarious fun!"
by James Bretton on 17/04/09

"The Serious Business of Choosing A Mate," was an interesting prospect: An evening of two one act plays, both about trying to find your perfect partner. You have to agree, there's definitely appeal in that sentiment! The show comprises a new piece of writing, namely "Fairy Tale," by Jeremy Green, and a comedy (yes, you read right COMEDY) by Anton Chekhov - "The Proposal". The tongue in cheek title linked these two pieces together neatly.

"Fairy Tale" is about a lonely princess, waiting for her perfect prince. Emma West plays the self obsessed, desperate princess hilariously, with good comedy timing with brilliant facial expressions. When the castle is invaded by a modern army, trying to "liberate" the country, the princess thinks she's found her perfect man...only to be disappointed...then be excited again when she meets a dashing hero Barabas (played by Alexander D'Andrea) who is not everything he seems. The pace sometimes lulled, but the writing was very funny, and the piece built to a satisfying end.

"The Proposal" tells the tale of a landowner coming to propose to a woman he doesn't love, but finding himself at the 'critical' age of thirty, and having no-one else to marry, does the deed, although every conversation turns into an argument, in which he suffers terrible 'palpitations.' The character of the hypochondriac Ivan Vasilevitch was a perfect showcase for Brett Harris to demonstrate his immense talent for comedy and transformation. (He played a soldier in the previous piece). This is pure farce, and whilst it should be overblown, the director did an excellent job in making sure that it was not just shouting and screaming - whilst there was a great deal of that, it was perfectly balenced with the right pauses and quieter moments.
Donal Cox played Stepan Stepanovitch, and his performance of the elderly father wishing to marry off his daughter was imbued with insightful physicality.

I enjoyed this production immensely. It was an original, hilarious, brilliantly acted and directed piece of theatre.

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