Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

stac trio

Jane Lush (Fiona), Andy Howie (William), and Nigel Hales (Frank)

How the Other Half Loves

Swan Theatre, Worcester


“Close your eyes, open your mouth and prepare yourself for a big surprise”, in the shape of How the Other Half Loves at Worcester Swan Theatre this week, for a night to remember packed full of uncomfortable lies and a lot of dashing around.

Directed by Jason Moseley, the Swan Theatre Amateur Company ‘STAC’ bring two households to the stage, overlapping living rooms and tales of deceit,  forgotten anniversaries and faces covered in prune juice to get to the bottom of a sordid fling with a few innocent bystanders thrown in for a good measure of sherry.

Nigel Hales as Frank Foster, is a distinguished gentleman with a romantic side for gushy platitudes while his dutiful wife Fiona Foster, Jane Lush, is forever shaking her head when Frank can’t find his clean shirts on the third shelf of his wardrobe or is busy having to replenish his bathroom stationery. The least said about Woking, the better.

Gemma Matthews as Teresa Phillips, enjoys her debut with ‘STAC’, but struggling to deal with rambunctious husband Bob, Carl Paskin, as he walks around half naked demanding cups of tea and a breakfast that isn’t a peanut butter sandwich.

As all the action happens seamlessly all at the same time amidst numerous mistimed phone calls, there are still unexplained absences and late night shenanigans to be blamed on the marital misdemeanours by the unlikely Featherstones, William and Mary.

The shy, socially awkward Mary Featherstone is played by the talented Sue Hawkins, who I saw in April 2018 as Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia, and although demurely polite, husband William, Andy Howie, attempts to ingratiate her with his colleagues at not just one but two equally disastrous dinner parties offering air freshener soup and a bowl of avocado as a tonic to collapsing chairs, heated disagreements and spontaneous song.

As well as copious amounts of laughter, audience members can also take home some insightful parenting tips in how to keep a child amused and all you really need is a bra and a couple of tennis balls.

Catch this hilarious rendition of Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves at Worcester Swan Theatre until Saturday February 25th, with tickets costing £13 - £15. For more information visit Worcester Theatres or call the Box Office on 01905 611427.

Emma Trimble


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