Mr and Mrs Nobody

A wonderfully entertaining evening of laughter and fine acting is currently to be found in Keith Waterhouse’s Mr and Mrs Nobody, staged by Gabriella Bird in her directorial debut at Jermyn Street Theatre as the final play in the Footprints Festival which brought the venue out of lockdown. She has undoubtedly scored a triumph, bringing together the many elements that require detailed attention in this quirky, intimate and most eccentric piece of theatre.

A wonderfully entertaining evening of laughter and fine acting

The play is adapted from the comic novel Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. Originally serialised in Punch magazine from 1888–89, it was published as an illustrated book with additional material in 1892. The diary was that of one Charles Pooter (Edward Baker-Duly) who writes a daily record describing his work as a clerk and the domestic and social life he shares with his wife Carrie (Miranda Foster) and his son William Lupin Pooter. Waterhouse decided that it would be an amusing two-hander if Mrs Pooter were also to keep a diary, giving her side of the story, on the basis that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Thus the scene is set for the couple to embark upon their respective missions. The diary entries are read aloud, each relating events in their overlapping worlds, but doing so, for the most part, as though the other weren’t there, although what each writes often comes across as sparkling banter with amusing and often pointed remarks made about the other. Mrs. Pooter rarely sees things in the same light as Mr. Pooter. She usually knows better than he and bides her time in order to get her own way. She tolerates, though fails to understand, his obsession with red enamel paint and puts up with his delight in banal and not particularly funny humour, while they both lament their inability to move freely in the circles to which they aspire. The lack of real dialogue heightens the moments when they do converse, often whilst moving the set around to create a new location; it’s amazing what can be achieved with a writing desk and a Japanese screen. Credit here to set designer Louie Whitemore. Costume design by Claire Nicholas is also worthy of praise giving each character a perfectly fitted period outfit appropriate to their status in society. The rest of the creatives also shine. Sound designer Tom Attwood finds period and whimsical music that creates the right mood and authentic sounds and effects for a couple living next to the railway line. Meanwhile, the many detailed props are all in the right place thanks to stage managers Sophie Jefferson and Alana Eden Barker and everything is carefully illuminated courtesy of lighting designer Johanna Town and her associate, the appropriately named Tom Lightboy.

Baker-Duly and Foster are ideally matched as a credible middle-class Victorian couple desirous of an elevated position in society. Baker-Duly portrays the husband whose traditional role is to have the upper hand and be the controlling force in a nineteenth century marriage, while Foster plays the equally traditional wife who reveals her thoughts in her diary fully aware that she is the mistress of the house who knows how to play her husband and ultimately get her own way. They both have the knack of saving a thousand words by a single look and equally know the power of timing in comedy. The evening wasn’t without its hiccups but these two have the expertise to use those moments to enhance the comedy and carry on regardless.

This is just the sort of play theatre’s should be putting on now. No lockdown navel-gazing here, just fabulously executed, rich entertainment. If this doesn’t lift your spirits then nothing will.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Richard Beck

Alexandra Palace

Treason - the Musical

Hampstead Theatre

To Have And To Hold


Trueman and the Arsonists

The Space

Now Entering Ely, Nevada

Hackney Town Hall


Southwark Playhouse

Manic Street Creature


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Keith Waterhouse’s Mr and Mrs Nobody is adapted from the comic novel Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. Charles Pooter is a model Victorian husband, and he knows it. He doesn’t (usually) drink too much, he possesses a keen eye for interior decoration, and he tries his hardest to keep his son Lupin out of trouble. But what does his wife Carrie really think of him? Journey with Charles and Carrie’s haphazard marriage through seaside holidays to disastrous dinner parties.

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets