Dated script fails cast’s expertise

California Suite at the Lowther Pavilion

California Suite at the Lowther Pavilion

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California Suite, Lowther Pavilion, until tomorrow

Neil Simon’s 1976 play enables Lytham’s Anonymous Players to display their customary comic acting expertise in three completely unrelated scenes. Dramatic tension consequently is always lacking.

Each scene is set in Suite 203/204 of the Beverley Hills Hotel, as three couples with marital unease talk through their problems.

Andy Cook leads as Philadelphia businessman Marvin Michaels, timing his lines superbly and writhing splendidly, as he tries to conceal a drunken prostitute in his bed from his wife Millie, nicely played by Joy Burgess.

Poppy Flanagan and Ian Edmundson as London luvvies attending the Oscars Diana and Sidney Nichols have the sharpest lines. Their final scene, however, is unconvincing, as the script datedly labours to reveal Sidney is gay.

New Yorkers Fiona Mullany and David Arrow do their utmost to breathe life into the opening scene, arguing about the custody of their daughter, but it’s all talk, and Simon’s writing sadly fails to make the audience care at all about any of the six characters.

JULIAN WILDE