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

Tom, dick and harry

Stuart Wishart as Tom, Tony Newbould as Dick and Jonathan Flowers as Harry

Tom, Dick & Harry

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


It’s a fact, that at one time the whole notion of any theatrical farce might have been viewed as ridiculously extreme. Their stock in trade is based on the formulae of comical lies and diversions, hidden agendas, cover-ups, dubious relationships, slease and wrong doing and all of that pretty much sums up the current political scene.

It’s that collective fact that now, in comparison to our crazy world, makes this very traditional British farce by Ray Cooney, almost plausible. Co-written with his son Michael this well-crafted descent into social chaos has as many twists, opening and closing of doors as Number 10 itself.

Tom, Dick & Harry has everything a good farce needs. Although it’s far from the sexy goings on of other plays, this begins with Tom and Linda, awaiting a visit from an adoption-agency official. The situation spirals instantly into madness by the arrival of one of Tom's hapless brothers Dick, who rents the upstairs apartment of their home.

Tom and cast

Bob Graham as Boris, Rupert Boden as Andreas, Bethany Grainger as Katerina and Stuart Wishart as Tom 

His opening gambit is that he has just returned from a road trip to Calais and now has a van full of contraband he needs to hide. There’s also undiscovered cargo in a couple of stowaways but just as Tom takes a sensible hold of the situation, his second brother Harry turns up.  He has hatched a preposterous house purchasing plan that involves the use of a bin bag of dismembered corpse parts, obtained from his job at the hospital morgue.

The central character and carrying most of the weight in this complex comedy is Tom, played expertly by Stuart Wishart. Critical skills in farce are timing and the swift flow of the often complex dialogue, whilst keeping the extremities in check and Mr Wishart never missed a beat.

Dick and Harry played by Tony Newbold and Jonathan flowers also kept up with the energy of their roles, never flinching, however ridiculous the situation of the scenes became.

The unwanted van cargo comes in the form of two illegal immigrants who both develop another absurd layer to the increasing chaos. Rupert Boden as Andreas and Beth Grainger as Katerina had a lot of fun but had little to learn other than stage direction as they were reduced to some Eastern bloc gibberish for most of the performance. There was good support in the form of Tom’s wife Linda played by Hannah Tolley who remains the innocent and totally unaware of the goings on inside her home.

With the arrival of Mrs Potter from the agency, played smartly by Bhupinder Brown, the play descends into the unbelievable with a comical if not surreal explanation of the situation she has stumbled into. 


Hannah Tolley as wife Linda and Bhupinda Brown as Mrs Potter from the agency

The appearance of Constable Downs played by Dan Taylor, nosing his way into the action, only helps ramp the atmosphere of panic. With the final arrival of Boris, a dubious mafia heavy played by Bob Graham, the end is suitably outrageous but rescues everyone’s predicament.

Ray Cooney’s farce may seem a little dated now and whilst at times it wanders perilously away from its story line, you have to forgive the clowning and just enjoy it. There is an element of the Morecambe and Wise skit about this play where the gags sometime seem more important than the plot. However with Tori Wakeman, herself apparently no fan of the form, as director she controls the action with a strong sense of expert guidance.

With our ever increasing strict social sense and total dismay at the farce of our daily lives, you might not laugh at everything but you will laugh at something.

Even is this play might not be for any Tom, Dick or Harry this Tom, Dick and Harry might just be for you, with the chaos continuing to 28-01-23

Jeff Grant


The Nonentities

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