Nigel (Jonny Davidson) and his wife Sarah (Ella Dorman-Gajic) are sitting down to a dinner of soup and parsnip wine when they are interrupted by a knock on the door. The couple are initially hesitant about answering in the midst of a storm, with Nigel worried that the stranger may be a robber or a "loony". He was right to be worried, as Sarah opens the door to a muddy, bruised man who is only wearing boxer shorts. While Nigel is now even more reluctant, Sarah believes he may have been sent to them as a test from God, and this suspicion seems confirmed when they learn that the mysterious stranger is a priest, Father Samuels (David McCabe). What follows is an eye-opening evening for the young couple, as Father Samuels proposes to give them his own brand of ‘spiritual guidance’.
The concept felt a little tired.
The simpering, sickly sweet relationship between Nigel and Sarah shows an excellent chemistry between Davidson and Dorman-Gajic, as they play off of each other with ease, while the contrast between them and the worldly-wise Father Samuels proves especially amusing in their different styles of delivery, with Samuels’ despairing reactions to the couple from their demonstration of how they ‘make love’ to their parsnip wine. Unfortunately, this initially amusing rapport began to wear thin as the play continued, as it became clear just how naive the couple were and how Samuels could exploit them at every turn. His explanation of how he came to be in the forest, and the initially quirky set-up of the isolated couple, proved more intriguing than the actual situation at hand, and the concept of the devious, sexually experienced priest contrasted with an innocent couple felt a little tired. Even an awkward, if comical, sequence with a dish of sponge pudding could not change this impression, despite the trio’s excellent use of physical comedy.
Late in the play Sarah tells Father Samuels "You’re a very good priest", to which Samuels replies "I don’t know about that." I would have to agree with him; although the cast worked well together, the material did not show their abilities as fully as it perhaps could have. That being said, the production may not have been a blessing, but it was an amusing way to spend an hour.