Review: TOM, DICK AND HARRY at Milnerton Playhouse Is Filled to the Brim with Hilarious Tomfoolery

This farce features stellar performances from each member of the nine-person cast.

By: Mar. 21, 2023
Review: TOM, DICK AND HARRY at Milnerton Playhouse Is Filled to the Brim with Hilarious Tomfoolery

Milnerton Playhouse's most recent offering is the hilarious TOM, DICK AND HARRY - a farce that takes place over the course of one day in a London home. The play opens in the home of Tom (Anton Schäfer) and Linda (Grace Brain), a married couple, who are frantically preparing for the arrival of the head of an adoption agency - if their home and lifestyle are deemed suitable, the pair will finally be able to adopt a baby. However, the arrival of Tom's troublemaking brothers, Dick (Donovan Burger) and Harry (Satchen Gush) turns what should be a straightforward morning into an outrageous day filled with, among other things, cigarette smuggling, a dismembered cadaver, a couple of European refugees and a very inquisitive policewoman.

The script is incredibly fast paced and the actors rise to the challenge of delivering the punchy lines: filled to the brim with quick, complicated, tongue-twister-filled monologues (for which Schäfer deservedly received applause), Director Johann van der Merwe does not let one opportunity for laughter escape. The acting is sharp and slick and the ensemble work is strong, with fantastic characterisations all round. I also loved the physical comedy which was plentiful.

Schäfer manages to maximise comedy while never overplaying the stressed out, exhausted-by-his-siblings Tom. Tom, responsible, reliable and an upstanding citizen is the perfect foil for his slightly off-kilter and mischievous brothers, Dick and Harry, who are hilarious in their own right. Throughout the course of the play, we watch Schäfer become more and more frustrated with the lunacy of the day's events. Indeed, he is adept at physical comedy and at using his body to exhibit rage, incredulity and everything in between, as he tries to put an end to all the tomfoolery, ironically created by his siblings.

Burger, as Dick, has fabulous comedic timing and gives a cheeky performance as Tom's overly relaxed brother, engaged in somewhat shady business ventures. He is a natural onstage. Gush, who plays Harry, is also great and gives an adorable performance as Harry, a hospital employee with good intentions but not much foresight. His continuous tumbling out of the window never got old for me. Schäfer, Burger and Gush do an excellent job of providing varied characterisations for the three brothers which results in chaos onstage. Mistaken identities, creative stretches of the truth and plain confusion result in hilarity for the duration of the show.

In this production, all deserve a mention - the show is truly well cast and van der Merwe has elicited the full potential from each of his actors. Grace Brain makes a formidable Linda - always together and always in charge - until she is not. Brain's stage presence is commanding and her anathema towards her brothers-in-law, while harsh, makes for great comedy.

Likewise, Nasreen Adhikari as Katerina and Petra Baker as Andrea are wonderful. The pair play Croatian refugees: a grandmother and granddaughter who cannot speak a word of English. Despite the language divide, the audience is able to understand what is being communicated which is testament to the actresses' skills. Much of the humour draws on this and is communicated through physical comedy, my favourite example of which includes a wheelbarrow as a drunken prop.

Review: TOM, DICK AND HARRY at Milnerton Playhouse Is Filled to the Brim with Hilarious Tomfoolery

What makes Adhikari and Baker's performances even more impressive, however, is their believability when conveying more serious or dramatic emotion - also without the use of English. At one point, the pair receive a phone call in relation to their family and both characters collapse into convincing tears - which the audience clearly bought into because it was one of the few times which did not evoke laughter from audience members.

It would be remiss not to discuss the remaining three actors, who are just as valuable to this production as the rest. Danalia Borman plays a relentless Constable Downs who smells a rat and cannot let it go, as one would hope from any member of the police force. Borman plays her role with aplomb - I would not like to have this constable after me. McCormick as Mrs Potter is perfect, growing more and more alarmed as she bears witness to the chaos around her. And what can I say about Gillian Vosloo? Without providing spoilers, her cameo is played with conviction and superb accent work. I only wish that she had more stage time - she certainly deserves it.

The only criticism I have about the show is that the British accents are not always consistent so the performers need to remember not to let those drop.

I loved this piece and how van der Merwe's direction shines through, ensuring that the pacing remains rapid and utilising all areas of the stage. Indeed, this is not an easy piece, and the Director deserves congratulations for achieving such an excellent production.

Fin McCormick's set design is fabulous as usual, with multiple exits as required in a farce. He and his team must be commended, as well as Charmaine and Laura Singh who are responsible for the set décor which really brings the stage to life.

This is the funniest farce that I have seen in a long time and anyone who attends can be guaranteed a good abdominal workout from all the laughter. After all, this play is not any old Tom, Dick or Harry.

TOM, DICK AND HARRY runs from 17 March to 1 April at the Milnerton Playhouse with shows on Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights. Tickets range from R80 to R110 depending and can be purchased on the Milnerton Players website or through Quicket directly. Details on

Photo credit: Jane Amory


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