Terry Grimley reviews Going Potty at the Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome
Having worked extensively as an actress and theatre manager in Australia, Kate Wyvill is now a kind of one-woman cottage theatre industry based in rural Staffordshire.
She has written this two-handed domestic comedy and plays both female roles - Emma, the stressed mother of three on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and her workaholic husband Robert's "other" woman, Sally, a work colleague who is single, frustrated and as the play progresses, increasingly tipsy.
Emma has locked herself in the wardrobe in retaliation for Robert's staying at the office until midnight on their wedding anniversary, the reality of which we discover in the middle third of the play. Can she and Robert get themselves out of an impasse gradually imposed on them by the stresses of modern work and domestic life?
The weakest aspect of Going Potty turns out to be its lame title. It's a smartly-written comedy which is never less than mildly amusing and has some purple patches in the second half, including an uncanny little diversion about the difficult-to-resist temptation not so much to kick an irritating cat as to gently help it on its way. There is also a speech of articulate self-justification given to Robert, demonstrating that this is by no means a feminist rant.
Actually some might feel that Emma protests a bit too much, since not every mother with three small children has the luxury of paying someone else to do the ironing. In the middle scene I found myself definitely warming to Sally as she gradually shed her inhibitions, and was sorry when she took her leave of us.
As an actress Kate Wyvill is a good advocate for her own writing, and I'll be interested to see the second play which is already on its way. She has excellent support here from Simon Greenway, making his professional stage debut after switching careers.
* Running time: One hour, 55 minutes. Until Saturday.