Kindly Keep It Covered

Theatre ReviewKindly Keep It CoveredNewcastle G and S Players Comedy ClubSt Matthew’s Church Hall, Georgetown (ends November 12) FARCE: The cast of Kindly Keep It Covered.
Nanjing Night Net

The title, Kindly Keep It Covered, is the motto of an insurance company, Kindly Mutual, which is renowned for making swift payouts in the event of the unexpected death of one of its clients. But in Dave Freeman’s farcical comedy, there are others who want things covered, especially a supposedly dead man who returns to England to get his share of the money several years after reportedly dying in an accident in France.

On the night of his secret visit, his wife, who used some of the money to set up a health farm, is running a midsummer eve’s dance concert featuring a police band, the Truncheons. And she has remarried, to a former Kindly employee who was given the push by the company.

A lot happens in the brisk real-time period of the play’s events, with director John McFadden and a good cast nimbly getting around writing weaknesses.

Steve McLauchlan, as the “dead” man, Sidney, swiftly moves between multiple disguises, including a French doctor, an ornithologist known as “the bird man of Madagascar”, and Titania, the fairy queen from Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, using different voices, accents and costumes.

Geoff McLauchlan, as the new husband, Roland, is caught up in his manoeuvres and desperately tries to prevent others from finding out who he is, fearful that the remaining payout funds will be seized, and also concerned that his wife will want to return to him.

Amanda Reitdijk as the wife eventually encounters her hiding ex-spouse, and their exchanges make it clear that the marriage was far from perfect.

There are also amusing contributions by Jen Masson as the wife’s over-bearing mother, who clearly has made life hell for both husbands, Sandra Monk as the insurance company head’s wife, who has her own problems and wants to spend some time at the health farm, Peter Eyre as a food-scavenging farm guest, with a knack for finding and absconding with biscuit tins and other treats, and Natalie Burg as an unsmiling policewoman, a member of the band, who comes looking for a precious item taken from their bus while they have been playing at the concert.

Narelle Bower’s costumes add colour to the humour, and Geoff McLauchlan’s multi-doored set amplifies the fun of the swift entrances and exits.