Collectors of theatre trivia will instantly spot the Birmingham link to Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce.
Commissioned by Peter Hall for the National Theatre, it was first performed by the National on tour at the Alexandra Theatre on March 1, 1977, although it had premiered two years previously. It has been frequently revived and this production, again directed by Hall, has a lengthy history of its own. It had a West End run earlier this year and is now touring with numerous cast changes.
I suspect this protracted history might have something to do with why I came away feeling disappointed. It’s hard to say whether the play has simply worn less well than, say, Season’s Greetings (for me, the Ayckbourn gold standard) or whether the production is lacking a few degrees of sharpness. Overall, despite the ingenuity of Ayckbourn’s stage set-up, his unfailing observation of English embarrassment and the universal failure of male and female to see eye to eye, the play comes across here as little more than mildly diverting.
Running time: Two hours, 15 minutes. Until Saturday.