Whilst the name Dry Rot gave me little to go on for what to expect from the play, the description of it as a classic British comedy made me think of humour along the lines of Fawlty Towers. I was not to be disappointed.
The whole play is set in a stately home ran by a respectable couple who let out rooms to help with the rent. When two bookies come in with a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, the problems and the hilarity ensues. The audience does not have to wait for the bookies to enter for the comedy to start. The chemistry between the husband, wife and the help plays into the much loved martial and class humour that clearly goes down so well with the audience. The combination of Neil Stacy and Liza Goddard as Colonel and Mrs Wagstaff works perfectly, whilst the character of Beth (Susan Penhaligon) as the incompetent maid allows the clashing in classes. Yet Dry Rot refuses to just be a comedy, there is also romance within the play. Beth finds love in the form of Fred Phipps (Norman Pace) and the kindling romance between Susan Wagstaff (Evelyn Adams) and John Danby (Bob Saul) transforms the characters from basic stereotypes of various classes to more rounded, believable characters.
Whilst the majority of the humour may not appeal to every taste, sure enough there at least is something for everyone, whether it be slapstick comedy or confusion through language barriers (reminding me again of Fawlty Towers). There is one thing that cannot be denied, the passion and skill of the actors within the play. I was particularly impressed with the fluent and flawless French from Michael Keane playing a French Jockey who does not speak a word of English. Each member of the cast had flawless accents and it was obvious that, as one person commented on leaving the play, each one put their heart and soul into it.
Dry Rot is a play that can be watched regardless of the type of day you’ve had, it’s an easy watch. With the script and the actors doing most of the work, all the audience has to do is sit back and enjoy.
Dry Rot is at the Derby Theatre until the 14th July 2012 for more information and to book tickets click here