Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Duck House

On Saturday we went to see the matinee performance of 'The Duck House' at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.

This farce is based on the expenses scandal in 2009, with a Labour MP (Ben Miller) wanting to move over to the Conservatives just as the scandal breaks. The deal is done: all he has to do is impress a Conservative bigwig who is coming to visit. The only problem is that he's bought just about everything in his house on expenses (including the eponymous duck house). How will the bigwig react to the hanging baskets, massage chair and manure, yet alone the life-size portrait of the MP hanging on the wall?

It was very funny if you like farces; real put-brain-into-neutral-and-laugh stuff.

Having said that, it is not a classic: the farce is a little too contrived, and the second half is considerably weaker than the first, whilst the ending is fun although very predictable. Much of the comedy is also rather unoriginal. Neither is it deep: the real issues behind the expenses scandal, which captured saint and villain alike, were mostly glossed over.

Ben Miller steals the show with some excellent comic timing, whilst Debbie Chazen was hilarious as the MP's UKIP-supporting, illegal immigrant, Russian cleaner. Indeed, the cast were all rather good, and any problems came from the material rather than the acting.

I'd recommend it, but don't expect depth or a comedy classic.

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