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Monogamy starring Janie Dee
May 2nd - May 5th
The Original Theatre Company and Ghost Light Theatre Productions Ltd present
Monogamy by Torben Betts starring Janie Dee
Monogamy means sharing your life with one person, but what if you shared your kitchen with 5.6 million?
Caroline Mortimer, the nation’s favourite TV cook, has it all – a sparkling career, a big house in Highgate, a (golf) loving husband, smart kids and the best kitchen money can buy. But beneath the immaculate furnishings, studio lighting and away from the glare of the ever-present cameras – Caroline must face the looming collision of living a private life in the public eye. What happens when the cameras turn off and the truth comes out?
A searing, sharp, state of the nation comedy from one of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, Torben Betts.
From the award-winning Original Theatre Company who brought you Torben Betts’ smash-hit comedy Invincible and directed by Alastair Whatley (Wait Until Dark, Birdsong).
Olivier and Evening Standard award-winner Janie Dee will star as Caroline. Critically acclaimed for her roles on stage and screen, Janie Dee has worked closely with many leading playwrights including Alan Ayckbourn, Michael Frayn and Harold Pinter and is currently starring in the National Theatre’s production of Follies.
Joining the cast are Charlie Brooks (Eastenders) and Patrick Ryecart (The Crown) as Sally and Mike, alongside Jack Archer as Leo, Genevieve Gaunt as Amanda and Jack Sandle as Graeme.
Age Guidance – 12+ (Moderate language)
“Torben Betts is the most exciting theatre writing talent I have come across in many a year” Alan Ayckbourn
“An uncommonly talented playwright” TIME OUT
★★★★ “Full of wit and bravado, fun and anger… catch it if you can” The Times (Invincible, 2017)
Rehearsal Photos by Simon Annand
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
Choice Radio Worcester
A brand new show is in Malvern this week, getting its world premiere at the theatre before embarking on a nationwide tour. And for anyone who loves television cooks, it may come as a bit of a surprise that Torben Betts' comedy Monogamy, for The Original Theatre Company, demonstrates that not everything is fine and dandy in the kitchen in spite of appearances, for the glamour of TV can often hide some dark personal secrets. Janie Dee plays Caroline Mortimer, a much-loved TV chef preparing for her last show broadcast live from her kitchen before selling up and moving to a studio set.
As you would expect, Caroline has a beautiful well-equipped kitchen (the only location used in the show) - her problem lies more with the people who surround her, both inside and outside her family, each of whom, like herself, has been hiding something incriminating. Her downfall could be revealed in the national Press in a couple of days as she apparently photographed as she fell off the wagon. Son Leo (Jack Archer) has just returned from getting a first at Cambridge and has two bombshells to drop. Her new PA Amanda - dreadfully fluffy and hip (on the outside, at least) and wonderfully portrayed by Genevieve Gaunt - also has a damaged past, whilst carpenter Graeme (Jack Sandle) is also not all he seems at first sight (a sight which Caroline has understandably fallen for hook, line and sinker). Meanwhile, her hubby Mike (Patrick Ryecart) returns from his day out golfing and, having seen a fellow golfer drop dead on the green, seriously questions his own mortality and Sally (Charlie Brooks) completes the line up as another damaged character with a difficult past.
In the confines of a kitchen whilst preparing an evening meal, you might expect conversations to flow naturally but no, not in this house. These characters are deliberately and amusingly so self-involved that there are often two cleverly-constructed conversations running simultaneously, completely disconnected from each other. Neither side manages to get their point across with Leo in particular becoming increasingly frustrated at his mother's lack of attention to his plight.
With an impending thunderstorm looming loud and clear, the tale begins to spiral uncontrollably to what potentially could be a fatal scenario with the audience suspecting that the kitchen knife which made an appearance at the start might finally get some use…
As this was the very first night of the show, there were a couple of fluffed lines and a bit of a crisis when a champagne glass was knocked onto the floor and smashed, which stopped the show for a few moments (though Ryecart had amusingly taken it upon himself to get out a dustpan and brush and start to clear it up, grinning to the audience as he did so!). It could almost have been scripted (but clearly wasn't).
Like a hot chocolate with whipped cream, Monogamy is a deliciously indulgent culinary concoction of a dark underbelly with a frothy topping, bitter sweet and not to everyone's taste - this is certainly a darker comedy than many would have been expecting…
Clearly the writer used the wrong title it should have been Monotony This play was not good none of the characters evoked any sympathy and had nothing to attract them. Only the description of a “Hole in One “ resonated with me at all. The second half ( which a number of the audience did not see ) was marginally better than the first but laughs were few and far between I know it was a black comedy but Grey would be a better description