THE WOMAN WHO COOKED HER HUSBAND
by Debbie Isitt
directed by Gordon Ingleby
Colne Dramatic Society
It is unusual for me to visit, as I have done, two productions of the same play within a few short weeks, but it was also interesting to see how two different directors, and two different casts were to present Debbie Isitt’s surreal black comedy.
Told through a series of flashbacks interspersed with “the last supper”, the play is a highly entertaining exploration of jealousy, humiliation, deceit and betrayal.
Kenneth (Mike McKeown) and Hillary (Marina Butterworth) have been married for almost twenty years but Kenneth has been having an affair with Laura (Tess James), a younger, vibrant free spirit.
Life seems perfect for Ken, but, eventually, his double life, and his efforts to juggle that double life, begin to unwind.
Marina Butterworth’s portrayal of the super-housewife was excellent. Every nuance, from doting wife to super cook and homemaker, was finely tuned. For me, this was one of Marina’s very best performances.
Mike McKeowan, the Elvis loving, ageing rocker, complete with draped jacket and ruched shirt, gave a very energetic performance ranging from the doting husband to the party animal and would-be Lothario, and later the man whose whole world was to become an ordeal.
Tess James was the “bit on the side” and later second wife in this love triangle. She was a party animal for whom anything domestic such as cleaning and cooking was anathema to her as long as she could have sex, and lots of it, and also lots and lots of parties. She gave a very assured portrayal of the “other woman”. The interplay between her and Mike provided many of the laughs as this story unfolded.
The set, designed by John Mills and Joe Midgley, proved to be ingenious. This is a play where there are, effectively, two settings and, ideally it needs a wide playing area so that the two houses are clearly defined. The playing area at the Little Theatre is tiny but because it had two doorways SR, one for Hillary and one for Laura, and the ingenious use of lighting by Richard I’Anson, we were always aware in which house we were. All the props were mimed. Congratulations to the cast for creating the illusion of wine glasses, knives, etc.
The sound plot, by Paul Thompson, using the music of Elvis Presley, as well as a large chunk of Rossini, was always on cue and served to highlight the humour of this play.
Gordon Ingleby provided his cast, and his audience with a very entertaining evening at the theatre. Congratulations to everyone involved with this presentation.
Thank you for your very warm welcome. I look forward to your forthcoming production of “The Man From Earth”