REVIEW: Consuming Passions, Stephen Joseph Theatre Bistro, Scarborough

From left: Louise Shuttleworth, Rachel Caffrey in Consuming Passions
From left: Louise Shuttleworth, Rachel Caffrey in Consuming Passions

Drop into the the Stephen Joseph Theatre for some vintage Alan Ayckbourn fizz and sparkle in your lunch hour.

Kevin Jenkins’ set, brilliantly compact, looks like it has always been a part of the Bistro. As lunch is served at your table, you are no longer only an audience member, but part of the action.

The plot revolves around Melanie (Louise Shuttleworth) who may experience a time shift, or she may be mentally unstable. Certainly the waiter (Leigh Symonds) is off-hand with her.

Enter Cora (Rachel Caffrey), incognito in best Hollywood cliché style - dark glasses and headscarf. She is meeting Freddy (Andy Cryer), her current squeeze. Melanie is astonished as, seated at her table, they begin to plot the murder of Cora’s husband. That’s enough about the plot. The rest of this review could easily concern itself with peeling back the layers of illusion and reality and still not reveal every subtlety.

However, as we have long ago come to expect, the fun in an Ayckbourn play is interleaved with some serious social comment. Failure to communicate, desperate personal lives and gradations of social class are all in the mix. Somehow, Hitchcock is there as well.

Great fun, and excellent value for money.

Consuming Passions runs until October 8 with some evening performances in the McCarthy.