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Birthday Suite

Cope Auditorium, Loughborough

Tuesday 21st-Saturday 25th February 2006

Directed by Sue Vickers & Chris Marlow

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Falcons soar in comic gem

The Falcon Players seem to have settled well into their new home, the Cope Auditorium, but more importantly, they haven't lost their flair for choosing good comedies like Birthday Suite.

The potential for comic mayhem was there from the start. Put four disperate (or desparate) people, with very different reasons for being there, in two hotel rooms, with an adjoining door that should be locked. Add in an excitable Italian waiter and wait for the inevitable humour explosion.

The play developed and maintained a swift momentum exploiting the visual as well as verbal comedy, as the quartet struggled to extricate themselves from their tangled relationships, dragging the waiter on the way.

Alan Whiteland clearly relished his role as Tony the waiter, his voice getting louder and his gestures more extravagant as we went on in an amusing performance.

Tony's job was to aid, abet and confuse the four characters who came to the suite. Bob (Andy Holt) came for a birthday night of passion with Mimi, but found the quietly independent Kate more to his liking.

Andy Holt played up Bob's bumbling, timid personality as he sank into chaos of his own making only to find salvation (or liberation?) in cross-dressing.

I enjoyed Cathy Rackstraw's cool an understated performance as Kate, a woman with wit and common sense at her disposal. She was certainly too good for Bob and too astute for her computer partner Dick, whom Graham Holmes initially wrapped in some of the neuroses he treated as a psychiatrist, but clearly showed him emerging as a more secure person by the end.

Yvonne Marshall completed this odd quartet as Liz, a woman who needed Bob to give her some attention but clearly enjoyed playing good-time Mimi.

Roy Jones, Loughborough Echo 24/2/06