Bedroom Farce is a play you have to love for its frivolity.
Written by Alan Ayckbourn in 1975, the play follows three seemingly happy couples who are all somehow involved in the lives of one particularly troubled pair: Trevor (Ron Pederson) and Susannah (Amy Matysio).
Kate (Katherine Gauthier) and Malcom (Gordon Hecht) aim to throw the perfect party and invite loads of friends over. While Nick (Alex McCooeye) is immobile at home with a back injury, his wife Jan (Caitlin Driscoll) decides to attend the party without him, in order to “talk” to her ex-boyfriend Trevor and his wife Susannah, who are having relationship problems.
Meanwhile, Trevor’s parents Ernest (Derek Boyes) and Delia (Corrine Koslo) get ready for their night out – Ernest waiting impatiently as his wife slowly puts on her makeup and indecisively lists her possible outfit choices for the evening. Little do all these couples know that Trevor and Susannah will unintentionally find every possible way to ruin their nights – and make sure they barely get a wink of sleep afterwards.
Directed by Ted Dykstra, the cast does a wonderful job at presenting the audience with the right amount of farcical humor, without being too over-the-top. While the physical humour and exaggeration is prevalent throughout, it exists without the characters becoming stereotypical in any way. All the characters are properly fleshed out and appropriately complex, with their own distinct humourous quirks.
Set designer Ken MacKenzie and costume designer Erika Connor place us right in the ‘70s with bell-bottom pants, psychedelic shirts and door beads. The set design consists of three very different bedrooms placed side by side. At the beginning of the play, Delia tells us that we can learn a lot from looking at a couple’s bedroom and this statement becomes increasingly true as the play progresses.
Despite this play evoking laughter and being entertaining for its entirely, it doesn’t particularly teach the contemporary audience anything new or make them think in any dynamic way. It presents them with generational differences that were relevant for the time, and some more trivial relationship problems that will make you chuckle in the moment, without giving the situations presented another thought once they have passed.
If you are keen on a night of laughter and slapstick comedy, this is the perfect play to attend for that lighthearted escape.
Part of Soulpepper’s 2015 season, Bedroom Farce is running at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until June 20. For more information visit www.soulpepper.ca.
photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann