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Straight

D C Moore
Sheffield Theatres
The Bush, Shepherd's Bush

Henry Pettigrew and Jessica Ransom Credit: Robert Day

Straight, which has already had a run in Sheffield, is a modern sexual sitcom with pretensions to being something much deeper and more daring.

Richard Wilson's production starts out in the negative equities bedsit shared by Henry Pettigrew's nervous, insecure Lewis and his wife Morgan who is little better, played by Jessica Ransom.

They are happy and nervously beginning to embark on the journey to parenthood when life takes an unexpected turn in the form of Lewis's best mate from college.

Waldorf played by Philip McGinley is at least as odd as his name, a feckless drifter who has been to every country in the Far East during seven self-indulgent years of travelling.

In no time, he has moved in and even briefly imported a skunk-smoking porn star friend to shock his straight-laced friends.

That is only the start of Waldorf's malign efforts. Next, following an all-night binge, he persuades Lewis to do something so unspeakable that it is better not mentioned in a review.

Strangely, instead of creating the expected comedy, this situation initially makes husband and wife introspective and leads to mutual confessions and highly unlikely consequences.

The proceedings in the second half take place in a luxurious hotel, which is way beyond anyone's budget and also involve an expensive-looking movie camera.

This is almost pure smutty sitcom, although the protagonists threaten to succumb to tenderness, without ever getting anywhere near there.

The shenanigan close without closure, if that is not too much of a contradiction, leaving us to wonder what will become of these people whose lives we have viewed all too intimately for 2¼ comically-torrid hours.

Viewers may be tickled, charmed or completely unmoved by this small-scale comedy, depending on taste.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher