The Bridewell’s Lunchbox Theatre series is proving popular: on a Wednesday lunch time there’s a good crowd of people assembled to watch Little Bear Theatre’s production of A Bold Stroke for a Husband. A 40 minute version of Hannah Cowley’s Georgian farce, the company has adapted the show to fill this lunch break slot.
The play is light and frothy, and its predictable form certainly won’t overtax city workers during their free hour. The adaptation is spritely, and very little is left to linger longer than it needs to. A well-trodden story of unrequited love and mistaken identities, A Bold Stroke for a Husband sees Donna Victoria manufacture various ploys in order to regain the love of her husband, Don Carlos.
Although many of the characters are caricatures, this is a funny and ironic adaptation of a fast-moving and slickly directed play. Dan Smith plays the parts of Pedro, Garcia and Vincentio, and is at his best when he’s playing two at once, having an argument with himself. In a Tommy Cooper-esque character piece, Smith is dressed half in one costume and half in another, and alternates commendably between the two. Karen Elliot is also particularly entertaining as Minette: though of small build, she commands considerable presence on stage.
A fledgling company, this is Little Bear’s first production. While we may question the merits of the play they have chosen to bring to this slot, it’s clear that they are a company whose vigour can bring spirit to an unknown play.