A night at the theatre to see a play is normally enjoyable, but with this production you get TWO plays for the price of one.
“The Private Ear” and “The Public Eye” are two one act comedies by Peter Shaffer, Kenneth Williams and Maggie Smith starred in the 1962 original production.
This touring production is performed by The Original Theatre Company and despite the passing years both plays have stood the test of time.
The Private Ear is a story of Bob (Steven Blakeley) a nerdy clerk who loves classical music and who in the 60s decade of free love is not getting any of it until he bumps into Doreen (Siobhan O’Kelly) at a concert. Bob just doesn’t know where to start with girls so his work mate Ted (Rupert Hill) offers guidance and support to break the ice over a meal, or does he have other motives?
Some great lines and visual performances, Blakeley is superb as Bob and his conducting of Peter Grimes is brilliant while the visual performance of Blakeley and O’Kelly as they listen and act out their courtship as they listen to Madame Butterfly is probably the highlight of the first play.
The second play, The Public Eye, starts with a very very clever scene change, so do not be late back into your seat.
Blakeley once more stars this time as a bumbling private detective (think Inspector Gadget) hired to find the secret lover of Charles Sidley’s (Jasper Britton) younger wife Belinda (played by Siobhan O’Kelly).
Personally this reviewer preferred the second piece more than the first. The writing and performances between Blakeley and Sidley are terrific.
The whole performance serves to showcase what a great comic-character actor Steven Blakeley is although credit must be given to the entire cast.
An evening well-spent.
At The New Wolsey until 9th November, 2013. Box Office: 01473 295 900. www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
MARK KEABLE – Ipswich24 Magazine