Printable CopyONE FOR THE POT
Therry Dramatic Society
The Arts Theatre
Until 09 Nov 2019

Review by Paige Mulholland

In Adelaide, the genre of farce – particularly retro British farce – is one that is so deeply associated with one particular theatre company (we won’t name names, but head North-East and you’re getting warmer) that seeing it performed by anyone else is a little jarring. But the Therry Dramatic Society met the challenge head-on, and, although they took a while to warm up, had the audience in stitches with the best of ‘em.

“One for the Pot” is the story of the Hardcastle family who, on the night of young Cynthia’s birthday party, are preparing to gift a large sum of money to the last surviving member of the Hickory-Wood family, their former business partners. That is, provided that there is only one last member of the family. When three identical Hickory-Wood siblings come out of the Hickory-Woodwork, the standard mistaken-identity-hiding-in-cupboards-doors-opening-everywhere farcical madness ensues as each sibling tries to win the fortune and/or win Cynthia. The show is quite long for a farce, and felt like it was winding up about half an hour before it did – although the audience continued to laugh for the duration of the show, some of the jokes were beginning to wear thin by the end.

The cast is led by Ben Todd, who has the considerable challenge of playing three parts with three different accents simultaneously. He’s the clear standout of the show, despite a few understandable moments of accent confusion, navigating slapstick stunts and dozens of exits followed almost immediately by entries on the other side of the stage, and demonstrates incredible stamina, performing on stage for almost the entire lengthy show. The cast as a whole definitely come into their own as the hectic show goes on, growing more confident with lines, cues and accents (although the accents still had their shaky moments) and building strong comic chemistry.

The performance is supported by a realistic and well-made set designed by Paul Cinneididh and Jude Hines, and simple and effective costuming by Sandy Faithfull and Heather Beasley that makes it possible for Todd to transition between characters in a matter of seconds.

If you’re a fan of farce, “One for the Pot” will fit the bill. Even if you’re not, watching the audience roll around the aisles with laughter is good people watching. Although the show could use an edit and it does take the cast a moment to get into the groove, it’s an interesting choice by the Therry Dramatic Society and one that seems to pay off.