The Independent London Newspaper


THEATRE: Not Enough Rope & In Memoriam at Acton Community Theatre

In Memoriam at Acton Community Theatre

Published: 2 November, 2012

GIVE someone enough rope and they will hang themselves.

Elaine May’s black comedy seems to have been written around this old adage.

Best known as one half of the brilliant improvisational comedy partnership Nichols and May, she also wrote, directed and starred in the wonderful comedy A New Leaf starring Walter Matthau.

Set in a New York rooming house (for the criminally zany if not insane it would seem) Edith Friedlander is having trouble hanging herself.

Not enough rope you see.

To solve this existential problem she badgers her new neighbour Claude (William Barklam) for some rope.

All he has is some ropey old twine and a hilarious surreal exchange ensues.

Why didn’t she make sure she bought some sturdy rope if she was going to top herself?

Disastrous disorganization there. Standing atop the ladder in her room entwined in twine unable to move without strangling herself she calls for Claude to help her but he’s being accosted by the other tenant Mrs Pierce (Rita Shaer) a bed-ridden old lady.

This is an absurdist comedy of urban alienation tautly directed by Jack O’Connor. Deborah Peck is outstanding in the central role of the neurotic New Yorker Edith.

The second play, In Memoriam written and directed by Mark Shaer is a tightly constructed family-centred thriller.

Two sisters (Robyn Pinkney and Deborah Peck) are mourning the death of their mother when a mysterious stranger arrives (Eric Colvin) bringing with him an air of menace. (see picture).

Soon skeletons come tumbling out of family cupboards and dark secrets are revealed.

What did he know about their mother? What kind of relationship did he have with her son?

Faintly reminiscent of J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls it is almost Hitchcockian in its maintaining of suspense right up to its shock end

From Nov 2-4
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