Caroline's Kitchen, Theatre Royal review: Mostly sweet but sticky in parts
PUBLISHED: 14:53 07 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 March 2019
Caroline's Kitchen written by leading playwright Torben Betts and headed by Lovejoy and Judge John Deed star Caroline Langrishe has all the ingredients for a great show.
The dark comedy is at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday and was a last minute addition to the theatre programme after the UK tour of To Kill A Mockingbird was cancelled over a rights issue.
The play is entirely set in the kitchen of celebrity TV chef Caroline Mortimer and begins with her filming the latest episode.
But when the camera stops rolling it becomes clear that her life isn’t as perfect as it appears on screen as she is hiding an affair with her builder Graeme played by Hollyoaks star James Sutton.
Her chaotic assistant Amanda, played by Jasymn Banks, who I recognised from playing Derek Branning’s daughter in EastEnders, shows Caroline some paparazzi pictures of her drunk that a national newspaper plans to print.
Meanwhile her vegan son, who she regularly reminds everyone is a Cambridge graduate, returns home and announces he wants to volunteer in Syria.
Her brute of a husband Mike, played by Aden Gillet, comes back from golf and the show descends into disaster as an unexpected guest arrives and somebody ends up getting hurt.
Unfortunately, the show is a bit of a slow-burner until the interval with repetitive dialogue about Caroline’s drinking problem and Leo discussing coming out to his father which seems a little dated.
There were also quite a few long pauses which were meant to be for dramatic effect but at times seemed like the actors had forgotten their lines instead.
However, once Mike booms onto the set the pace picks up and the second half is an enjoyable farce as things heat up and secrets are revealed.
The acting was strong from all the cast, although some of the roles were a little flimsy, and gave a humorous insight into Middle England.
The show began as Monogamy in London’s Park Theatre and went on a UK tour and after Torben made some changes it went on the road again as Caroline’s Kitchen with a new cast and is set to open Off-Broadway this year.
Whilst the show was enjoyable and entertaining, the plot lacked the bite to keep me engaged for the full show.