16-21 June 2014
Reviewed by Janet Linsell
Last of the Duty Free is a revival of the successful television series Duty Free revolving around two couples holidaying in a Spanish hotel, one aspiring working class and the other more affluent middle class. The central theme is that one husband and the others wife have a secret and largely unrequited romance. Three of the original cast members Keith Barron, Gwen Taylor and Neil Stacey are joined by Carol Royle as the principle quartet.
The romantically linked David and Linda have arranged to meet at the same hotel many years after their first encounter, which had ended in them being “found out”. David has continued his pursuit by concocting a lie about a dying friend and Linda says she “needs” a holiday by herself. They hope that their secret is safe but their respective and suspicious partners follow hot on their heels.
The plot is filled out by a young couple who are confused about who is married to whom after seeing Linda and David embracing and then go on to offer advice. There is also the stereotype “Manuel” Spanish waiter who remembers them all from their previous visit and bears a grudge over his treatment.
Those who have watched the TV series and loved it will not be disappointed. On the opening night the audience responded with appreciative laughter, however to a newer audience the play has a weak script, the jokes were well worn and the situations were predictable. For example one of the best punch lines was “should have gone to Specsavers”.
The saving grace of this production is the cast, particularly the four main characters. Their experience and skill provided timing and delivery to make the most of the lines they had. The set on two levels worked well, the scene changes being marked by Spanish music and good lighting, appropriate to the time of day.
If you enjoy old style, gentle comedy with no vulgarity with only mild innuendo, suitable for your maiden aunt, then this may be for you.
Tickets cost from £15 to £26 (plus £1/£1.50 booking fee).
Last of the Duty Free is at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield until 21 June 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Sheffield Theatres, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA | Box Office 0114 249 6000