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Theatre Review: Communicating Doors, Menier Chocolate Factory

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★★★★

"Just you wait and see what Poopay's got for you."

When you put Psycho, Fifty Shades of Grey and Doctor Who into a blender and serve it ripe in Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre, you get Communicating Doors. Never has life support and leather looked so sexy together in Alan Ayckbourn's part comedy, part thriller, time travel piece. 
Located between three time periods, 1980, 2000 and 2020, Communicating Doors follows Phoebe/Poopay (Rachel Tucker), a London-based dominatrix witnessing a murder confession from dying Reece (Robert Portal) in a dated and stale hotel suite that looks as if it'd have a bell boy called Quentin. Plot twist: it does. 
 
Then, as his associate Julian (David Bamber) tries killing our beloved *cue Estuary accent* Poopay, she find herself travelling back in time before the murder of Reece's second wife, Ruella (Imogen Stubbs). The unexpected pair then try resolving their own murders and prevent Reece's first wife, Jessica (Lucy Briggs-Owen), from being drowned. With me? Probably not. 
 
Though it takes a whole act to ease into things, the show is hilarious, littered with euphemism and discomfort that, quite frankly, could induce abdominal muscle growth. Previously seeing Bamber in *rolls eyes* Harvey, it's nice to see him taking a slightly more sociopathic role that brings a sense of thrill to this comedy. It's a Freudian field-day that's disturbingly funnier than first expected with an unexpectedness you never see in theatre (though I was hoping Tucker would break out into No Good Deed from her prior role in Wicked; shame).  
 
It's your dose of Ayckbourn guilty pleasure with a heart warming ending that caused even Tucker to cry. 



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