Pros: Pitch perfect comedy from the whole cast and great set design.
Cons: The narrative could have been cut shorter.
The Diary of a Nobody was first published in 1892 by brothers George and Weedon Grossmith, with the premise that even a self-declared nobody’s day to day life could be compiled to make an entertaining, enlightening and enjoyable read. The play is structured around Charles Pooter’s diary entries, recounting the trials of his wife, son, and the array of his decidedly irritating friends as they fumble through awkward forays into society.
The show was, in a word, shambolic. Set pieces were destroyed, props broken and clouds of talcum powder from a steamy bath scene caused more than one accident, but all mishaps were dealt with cleverly and with a great sense of humour. Some very creative ad-libbing kept the performance from crumbling into a complete disaster, and it was this quality that really showcased what a talented cast George Fouracres, Jordan Mallory Skinner, Jamie Treacher and Geordie Wright made.
The all-male cast of four were set with quite a task of playing the host of strange characters throughout the play, but each portrayal was steeped in personality and comedy, especially when two characters played by the same man were needed simultaneously. Jordan Mallory Skinner delivers Carrie, Pooter’s ever tolerant wife with unexpected but hilarious melodrama; just the jingling of his pearl earrings was enough to get the audience giggling, and it only escalated from there. Musical interludes provided by the whole cast broke up the madness and gave the piece another layer of wonderful charm.
Production designer Carin Nakanishi created a very striking set. Entirely black and white down to the last cup and including the costumes, it was stylistically very interesting. The sketched out set pieces gave the impression of a caricature, suiting the original novel that served as a caricature of suburban London life, and also gave a nod to the lovely illustrations Weedon Grossmith provided in the original work as well.
However, by the second act, it was a shame to see the crowd somewhat depleted, which could have been down to the raucous, slapstick style of the production or just the sheer length of the play. The main fault did lie in the pace; at two hours long with a subject focussing on the mundane, it was quite an investment for an audience. Despite this, the remainder of the audience howled with laughter until the very end, and some even got to join the cast on stage.
For fans of slapstick, absurdity and all-round silliness, this production of The Diary of a Nobody is a must-see.
Directed and Adapted by: Mary Franklin
Producer: Rough Haired Pointer
Designer: Carin Nakanishi
Box Office: 0207 478 0160.
Booking Link: https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/
Booking Until: 24th August.