Reviewed by Louise Edwards
The wonderful Allan Bennett’s novella The Clothes They Stood Up In, adapted (and starring) the fabulous Adrian Scarbrough is performing at the Nottingham Playhouse until 1 October.
Before the curtains are even up the audience are part the action, told we are at the closing scene of Cosi fan Tutte at Royal Opera House and as the drama unfolds we meet the two main characters, keen Mozart fans and married couple Rosemary Ransome) (played by the awesome Olivier Award winning actress, Sophie Thomson) and Maurice Ransome played by Scarborough himself.
The opinionated and domineering Mr Ransome isn’t impressed with the storyline about mistaken identity and refusing to get a taxi home we next see them on the bus returning to their flat in North London. On arrival home the pair discover literally everything they own has been taken from them – even the chicken casserole in the oven! The police are called and crime number obtained leaving the Ransome’s to navigate rebuilding their life.
There is plenty of humour, as there is with Bennett’s writing, as the Ransome’s set off on their own detective hunt to find what has happened to their belongings. Were they stolen? Is it a joke? A grudge from a former client of Mr Ransome, who works as a solicitor? Or something else entirely?
Rosemary, who is lacking in self confidence, revells in a friendship she strikes up with the owner of the local corner shop, Mr Anwar (played by Charlie de Melo, who also stars as the police sergeant and later the ward manager). He finds her captivating and delightful and she opens out to him in ways she can’t to her husband. We see her blossoming and gaining new independence as Natasha Magigi plays Dusty, a counsellor sent from the police to help Rosemary get over the suspected burglary get her questioning the whole essence of her life when everything is stripped away.
The whole cast of five, is completed with Ned Costello, who plays four very different parts brilliantly as the whereabouts of their belongs is revealed as is, the reason why they were taken.
Scarborough (The History Boys, The Madness of King George III, Gavin & Stacey) wrote the adaptation with the support of the author Alan Bennett and with help from Adam Penford, Artistic Director Of the Nottingham Playhouse and the result is a touching and hilarious masterpiece.
The Nottingham Playhouse is located in the city centre, a short walk from the main attractions. It is recommended you eat in the city before visiting as there isn’t a great deal in the way of dining in the immediate vicinity, though there are some delightful Indian restaurants on Maid Marion Way that offer early bird deals. There is plenty of on street parking (payable by phone) and a bar with limited snacks.
Tickets cost from £8.50
The Clothes They Stood Up In is at the Nottingham Playouse until Saturday 1 October 2022
For more information or to book tickets visit https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/the-clothes-they-stood-up-in/l/ or call the box office on 0115 941 9419
Nottingham Playhouse. Wellington Circus, Nottingham, NG1 5AF