The EALING Inheritance Review, Rialto Theatre – Plucky and enjoyable but with some serious missteps
The Rialto Theatre welcomed Button Pressed Productions with their new one act comedy ‘The Ealing Inheritance.’ Written by and starring Simon Messingham, the play explores the tale of two sisters with a great secret inheritance and their somewhat accidental chase from two con men, feigned as suitors.
The Ealing Inheritance has great potential with humour akin to Steptoe and Son. However the lack of depth, sophistication and subtlety to both plot and characterization doesn’t allow the caricatured characters to believe in themselves, let alone the audience to believe in them. Somewhat disappointingly it felt the genre of farce hasn’t been updated for a modern audience, a failing which made many jokes fall flat, coming across prejudiced, particularly towards women. A knowing use of irony would have helped, or some acknowledgement that fifty years have passed and genres evolve alongside social development.
There were moments of great humour, a surprise rendition of ‘Love Action’ among them, carried off by an understated Alistair Lock as Sellars. Red Grays’ Felicity Kendrick was both engaging and inconsistent. Her bubbly, quirky energy didn’t always match her supposed mental instability; a plot device that is neither elaborated on nor truly believable. Liz Downs played Emma Kendrick, the vulgar and typically ugly, undesirable sister, the opposite to her classically pretty counterpart. Her performance was plucky and enjoyable, if a little over dramatized – echoing the nature of the production. Simon Messingham as Professor Marcus Price was committed and enthusiastic, yet the tendency to overplay the drama of each character rather than allowing the timing and tone to create comedy rendered many moments flat.
The theatre is small and intimate, and the staging was generally pleasing and well managed. The use of lighting and sound was both appropriate and enjoyable and the use of a disco ball was a surprising and humourous decision. The play continues until the 28th November, and can certainly dish out mild laughs and fun, providing farce is a genre you already appreciate.