What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Mad night at theatre

A Bed Full of Foreigners, Custom House, South Shields. Runs until tomorrow.

A Bed Full of Foreigners, Custom House, South Shields. Runs until tomorrow. - Dave Freeman packs plenty of comedic action into two acts in his hilariously written farce, A Bed Full of Foreigners, which was performed at the Customs House last night.

The madness all begins when British couple Brenda and Stanley arrive at a French hotel on the eve of the village festival.

They believe themselves to be fortunate to have found a room on such a night but oh how wrong they are (as the audience delights in finding out as the absurd plot unravels before them).

The play builds up speed slowly; the first act setting the scene with a double booked room in a rundown hotel being the cause of the ludicrous events that follow.

British businessman Claude is none too pleased to discover he has been booked into the same room as Brenda and Stanley and the plot gets even more ridiculous as Claude's wife and mistress arrive to complete the commotion.

Gung-ho hotel manager Heinz, dressed in theatrical Renaissance attire in preparation for the local festival, makes numerous appearances which inevitably lead to a further frenzy of madness and confusion.

It isn't until the end of the first act that the comedy really begins to gain momentum with the obvious amusement of the audience being a sure sign that the farcical events hit all the right notes.

In amongst all of the chaos lies a skilful and witty cast who bring energy and enthusiasm to the stage. Damian Williams is extremely well cast as Stanley Parker and had the audience on his side throughout the night with his clever ad-libbing focusing attention away from the minor hitches that occurred and even adding to the hilarity of the play.

Having an attractive half-naked woman draped across him during the second act was clearly his idea of fun as he gleefully declared to the audience that he loved his job. Well, what man wouldn't?

With its implausible plotline and predictable proceedings this play has all of the ingredients of a typical farce and a first-class one at that. A well-written script and a strong cast guaranteed an enjoyable time was had by all.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer