The Public Eye Brockley Jack 5 May

****

I was surprised at how good this play was.  The idea is that Charles Sidley an accountant has hired a firm of private detectives to check up on his wife, who is 22 years younger than him and used to be a waitress.  A new operative visits him after the old one has fallen down a lift-shaft in Goodge Street.  It’s not possible to say a great deal more without giving the game away, but I thought the thing had a genuinely Shakespearean combination of truth, beauty and dottiness as the characters struggled through comical misadventures to find their true selves.

It was also very well done by the actors:  Joseph Rye, Michael Lawrence and (as Belinda, after our expectations had been roused) Lucie Howard.  I’m completely mystified as to why this production hasn’t had more notice paid to it:  it was really very very good, and well worth seeing on the two remaining nights of its run.

If I may venture some mild…remarks:  the staging seems to be set in the high 1960s, when the play itself dates from 1962 and is really about the old order no longer being able to sustain itself, rather than a new one that has come to birth.  I didn’t think that someone should have got the creases out of Belinda’s miniskirt.  There weren’t any programmes, so I have to guess that Ford Transit Productions are this outfit from NZ, who don’t seem to be updating their website.

I was glad to see that the sexual and other grievous failings of tax avoiders were already well understood in 1962.  The Brockley Jack now seems to have the most opulent toilets of any pub theatre in the entire universe as well…

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