This comedy from the Z Theatre Company centres around the Broken Vows marriage guidance centre, where three couples have been court-ordered to attend therapy. Sadly, this piece of new writing from Nathan Brawn lacks originality and the play is forced to rely on gratuitous swearing, clichéd characters and generally wooden acting.
Some outside direction might have stopped the play feeling quite so much like a post-watershed drama exercise
Everything about the production seems rushed, from the delivery of the puerile script to the hurried wrapping up of the thin plot. Monologues are delivered from dark corners of the stage, innuendo replaces any hope of plot development and the characters fail to convince. The cast give more of an impression of children dressing up in their parents’ clothes than of middle-aged couples.
The saving grace of the performance is a few deadpan quips delivered by Hannah Blake as the hard-done-by Lesley Sweetness, wife of the Worst Man in the World. Graham Sweetness is played flamboyantly by Adam Hutton, who incidentally also gives the worst ever attempt at on-stage coke-snorting. Joining this pair at Broken Vows is a lesbian couple, whose conversation and plotline mainly revolves around breasts, a sarcastic secretary whose eyes roll so far back into her head it is surprising she can still see out of them and the shrieking therapist’s wife plastered in ghoulish amounts of make-up.
Completing the ensemble are melodramatic and somewhat homophobic Mrs Francis and her husband, played by Greg Edwards, who delivers with wonderful simplicity the line “I am international salesman of computer firm!” (sic).
The play is both written and directed by its leading man, Dr Colin Malone. This may be a case of having bitten off more than one can chew: some outside direction might have stopped the play feeling quite so much like a post-watershed drama exercise. As it is, the show may well be remembered till death, but not for the right reasons.