Another Fine Mess is a one act play about a Laurel and Hardy tribute act. Phil, played by Philip Goudal, and Steve, played by Daryl Bennett, live and work together with Steve’s recently moved in girlfriend Meg, played by Kirstie Lilleystone. Steve, ever critical of his partner, has noticed that Phil has lost weight. Almost too much weight to play Hardy. The play goes back and forth between story and Laurel and Hardy impersonations, with the impersonations actually being more convincing than the acting.
Another Fine Mess is a bit of a mess.
The plot is supposed to be simple but the Laurel and Hardy impersonations complicate things. The impersonations often have no real narrative reason. While they are good, they make the acting of the rest of the play look worse. Perhaps they are so frequent because they are used as a distraction from the rest of the production. The characters have very predictable story lines and are not fleshed out. The audience are never really invested in the characters, and so the ending never really has a pay off.
While the impersonations of Laurel and Hardy are good, the acting and the over all story is not. The actors were not listening to each other, rather they were pretending to listen. There was zero truth in the acting from all three of the actors. Also they were always crowded around one side of the small stage stage. Even in that small space they manage to unbalance it.
The story tries to be hard hitting, with some nice moments between Phil and Steve. However, the play was predictable and garbled. Parts of it are unclear. To give credit where credit is due, it’s never boring and never seems rushed. There are attempts at having a climax in the narrative, but the acting and the impressions distract from it.
Another Fine Mess is a bit of a mess. Everyone is trying their hardest, but it falls short. The impersonations are pretty good most of the time and there seems to be a delight in playing them. But the over all production is cliche and predictable has no spontaneity at all. Unless you are a die hard Laurel and Hardy fan, it is probably best to give it a miss.