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Communicating Doors

Hugely funny, very clever, a little zany and lots of fun - Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors is at Leatherhead Theatre all week. Book your ticket now.

The Leatherhead Theatre’s repertory company opened it’s third and final show last night – and what way to end the season. There was murder, corruption, time travel and a whiff of sex. It was hugely funny, very clever, a little zany and lots of fun.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors opens in a posh London hotel suite with a dying elderly business tycoon, his business partner and a skittish dominatrix called Poopay. We quickly discover that kinky sex is not on the menu. Instead Reece, the dying businessman, wants Poopay to witness his confession about the elimination of his first and second wives.

In order to escape Reece’s dodgy business partner, Poopay slips back 20 years in time to 1998 via a time-travelling cupboard where she meets Ruella, the second wife, whom she tries to forewarn of her impending doom. Ruella, by the same device, goes back a further 20 years where she meets Jessica and tries to do the same. Each time they’re in the same hotel suite.

If this sounds complicated, it’s because it is.  The story zig-zags back and forth through time – but it’s not difficult to follow. Although I confess it wasn’t until half way through the second act that I realised the time-travelling device was the ‘communicating door’ of the production’s title. Duh!

Emma Mulkern is wonderful as Poopay, the self-styled specialist sexual consultant, while Holly Joyce perfectly portrays Ruella’s strong middle-glass spirit. Francesca Burgoyne and William Hazell deserve a special mention for bravely frolicking on stage as Jessica and Reece on their wedding night – dressed only their pants.

Four of the six actors on stage last night performed in The Secret Garden last week, which makes the slick production even more impressive – rehearsing this show last week while performing The Secret Garden in the evening.

I was also impressed by the set – cleverly designed by Christina Cammarota – with differing light shades to indicate the different periods in time.

I hugely enjoyed Communicating Doors – frantic, funny, upbeat and just a little risqué – and all that rounding off with an ending that was as unexpected as it was pleasing. This is rep theatre at it’s best.

‘Communicating Doors’ runs until Sat 5 May at The Leatherhead Theatre, 7 Church Street, Leatherhead, KT22 8DN. Tel: 01372 365141.


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