Saturday, 20 June 2015

Theatre Review: Communicating Doors at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Image credit: Kettle Mag
Over the years, prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn has produced many works exploring the angst and trivialities of the British middle class. He often does this in a highly inventive way, working with intriguing concepts and combining genres to create entirely unique work. Communicating Doors is a perfect example.

Written in 1994, the play can best be described as a comic thriller with a sci-fi twist. As confusing as that sounds, it’s actually a subtle and surprisingly warm-hearted revival, directed brilliantly by Lindsay Posner.

In the year 2020, Reece, a dying businessman (Robert Portal), hires dominatrix Poopay (Rachel Tucker) and invites her to his hotel suite. Once there, he asks her to witness his written confession that he murdered both his first and second wives, or rather, he got his sinister business partner Julian (David Bamber) to do the dirty work for him.

After a struggle, Reece collapses and Julian comes after Poopay. She runs through a connecting door and suddenly finds herself in the year 2000. In this time, the same suite is being occupied by Ruella (Imogen Stubbs), Reece’s doomed second wife. Ruella in turn uses the connecting door, but instead of going forward to the present, she travels back 20 years to 1980 where she finds Reece’s first wife Jessica (Lucy Briggs-Owen). Eventually the three women join forces to try and defeat Julian and avoid their untimely deaths.

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