BWW Review: BENEATH THE BLUE RINSE, Park Theatre
Simon Sudgebury (Kevin Tomlinson) has been scamming older ladies forcing them to buy expensive alarm systems in order to earn a huge bonus. 75-year-old Flora Parkin (Marlene Sidaway) isn't the kind to let anyone take advantage of her. When the salesman shows up at her door, he quickly finds out that, with the help of her 72-year-old lover George (Ian Redford), she's running something bigger and more dangerous than her trinket-lined household.
Written by Tom Glover, Beneath The Blue Rinse is a straightforward and uncomplicated comedy that hits all the right spots. Glen Walford's direction transports the text into surreal and exhilarating sitcom levels, giving Sidaway's Flora a debonair and sharply sarcastic slant and having Tomlinson's Sudgebury wearing a shirt that's as loud and annoying as his attitude.
Redford and Sidaway are a joy to watch. On one hand, she's deliciously wicked and foul-mouthed while on the other he's a good-hearted man who's ready to withstand all her extremist whims for love. Tomlinson fits, in turn, the mould of the basic villain who becomes the victim. His obnoxiousness and immorality don't take long to be shot down by the couple's resolute and hilarious ways.
Even though the piece falls rather short in terms of subtlety and nuance, the play is surprisingly delightful as a comedy. Glover uses delectable rudeness and forthright jokes to point the spotlight to a neglected group of people and has the audience laugh with them instead of at them.
Flora and George's humourous reaction to the alarming wrongdoings the elderly have to suffer becomes a bona fide manifesto. Glover uses the comical situation merely as a scapegoat to start a broader conversation, putting together an established cast to deliver a disquieting message.
Photo credit: Ben Wilkin