Ruth Rich’s madcap scheming to avoid a diary clash fills this hour of light comedy at the Pleasance Courtyard. Ginny Davis’ tightly-plotted script is witty and charming and her solo performance is masterfully vivid.
Stay-at-home mum of three Ruth is horrified to discover that she has managed to get trapped into both a school concert and a dinner with her mother on the same evening. The script of Double Booked is interlaced with side-plots, as Ruth deals with her son’s pranks, her mother’s missing teeth and a lascivious English teacher. One of Davis’ skills lies in bringing all these threads to a chortlingly good resolution.
Another strength of the production is the force with which the other roles are realised. This one-woman show is populated by half a dozen endearingly wacky characters, each carefully observed and faithfully represented. Davis is equally at-home playing the serenely self-absorbed Timmy’s Mum as she is with the Hugh Grant-esque Mr Williams. Furthermore, her portrayal of the teenagers showed a keen ear for today’s neologisms and attitudes without falling into unfair parody. Davis is an actor in supreme control, as she flicks effortlessly between voices and physicalities.
The dynamism of these other characters was in contrast with her portrayal of Ruth who, as an every-woman figure for the plot to revolve around, ended up comparatively weak. The language of the piece feels like a reading of a novel at times, rather than theatre per se, as Ruth narrates events even as she acts them out.
Alternating with Double Booked is a sister-play called Something Fishy, which stands on its own whilst involving the same host of recognisable characters as in Double Booked. This is a play which will certainly appeal to mums, but also to those who appreciate good comedy writing.