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Priory Theatre review: Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances, Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, to Feb 22.

The play opens with stressed theatre director Emmett (Les Royle) talking to his sister Liz (Jo Beckett), desperately hoping that that next-door neighbour Hyacinth (Juliet Grundy) does not take part in his murder play. After all, Hyacinth is taking a painting class and is about to exhibit her own work of art - surely she won’t want to be in a play as well. Within seconds the audience is laughing. Emmett knows that Hyacinth Bucket, a very challenging person, always seems to do what she wants to do. And, surprise, surprise, she decides that they are desperate for her to be in the play - and to take the leading role of Lady Malvern. Naturally, as the play continues more and more issues - and laughter - arise.

This is an excellent production. The central figures Hyacinth and Emmett are very funny . Juliet Grundy who has two roles, manages to change her voice completely convincingly.

Rose (Dawn Gazey–Lewis) is wonderfully over the top as Hyacinth's embarrassing but glamorous sister, and it's hard to keep your eyes of Alan Wales as Onslow, who brings any situation down to earth with his one-liners.

Daisy (Ruth Jones) is very convincing as his poor, hard-done-by wife. The play written by Roy Clarke was adapted from the BBC TV programme which, of course, was mostly filmed in Coventry and Leamington. The joyful cast, clever stage set and some stunning costumes all add to fun and laughter. Well done Priory Theatre.

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