I left the Vaudeville Theatre in a state of despair after seeing The Duck House. After the lacklustre One Man Two Guvnors and the instantly forgettable Raving, we now have the dire Duck House. It appears there are no creative comedy writers for UK theatre at present. What a shame.
The Duck House claims to be a farce based on the MP’s expenses scandal of a few years ago. All the jokes are obvious and not a single situation isn’t telegraphed so early that you don’t see it coming almost from the moment the curtain is raised.
Again, as in Raving I’m fed up with the laziness of the writing, it goes for the crudest and lowest vulgar laughs far too often. One of characters walks in and we can tell she’s going to be running around in kinky underwear soon, why? Well because the coat she’s in is so short you can see her stocking tops and suspenders! Director Terry Johnson appears to equally not care about any subtlety as this farce lurches from one over the top scene to another.
The writers, Colin Swash and Dan Patterson appear to have just gone through their notebooks of what they’ve written for Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week and shoe horned in as many jokes from those as possible. I really did sit there thinking, “I’ve heard these jokes before”. They also seem to have a checklist of “things that should be in a farce” and have slavishly ticked them off; trousers dropping, tick, woman in sexy underwear, tick, someone hiding in cupboard in their underwear, tick. These are all set up with no style or intelligence, it’s embarrassing.
I love farces, but this is just a bastardised version of what a good one can be. The writers have failed in making the main character loveable in any way. So the scrapes he gets himself in ,I just didn’t care as they were self inflicted and deserved.
What could have been an intelligent and witty look at an interesting part of recent politics has been dropped instead for a crude, crass, piece of drivel, that butchers the farce. My search for a decent modern comedic theatre writer continues.
STARS : ★
Many thanks to www.officialtheatre.com for the tickets.