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Making his West End debut, a bearded Rob Brydon is the breathing heart of Trevor Nunn’s mildly enjoyable, light-hearted revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1984 comedy.

He gives by far the best performance as provincial solicitor Daffyd Ap Llewellyn who’s also the committed director of the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society production of The Beggar’s Opera.

Starting with Macheath being cold-shouldered as the curtain comes down to warm applause, Ayckbourn then flashes back to the audition of Nigel Harman’ s naïve, ineffectual widower Guy for a minor role and tracks his unintentional progress up the cast list from one-line Crook-Finger’d Jack to swashbuckling leading man.

On the way, as local events and characters partially mirror those of John Gay’s 18th century ballad, he finds himself unwittingly involved with not one but two married women (Daffyd’s unhappy wife and the local vamp) as well as a land deal he actually knows nothing about.

There are moments of pathos as well as humour – a sad confession broadcast over the tannoy, a spot lit break-up - but the production is at its liveliest and funniest when Brydon, in his long, baggy cardigan, is on stage, nowhere more so than when he bursts into a booming version (in his native Welsh) of All Through the Night, drowning out Guy’s more tenuous tones in the process.

Harold Pinter, Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN
Tube| Piccadilly Circus
Until 5th January
£10 - £53.50
achorusofdisapproval.com

 

Image: Catherine Ashmore


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A Chorus of Disapproval review: Harold Pinter theatre, London
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