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July 23, 2008 > Theater Review: No Sex Please faulty farce

Theater Review: No Sex Please faulty farce

By Julie Grabowski

The titillating titled "No Sex Please, We're British" is a rollicking tale of panic, blame, mix ups and cover ups in the household of two staunch Windsor citizens.

Newlyweds Peter and Frances live above the National United Bank where Peter works as an assistant manager. Their tranquility soon falls apart when Frances's mail order for Scandinavian glassware arrives and turns out to be a batch of pornography.

Along with chief cashier Brian Runnicles, the couple frantically tries to dispose of the shocking items with a visiting mother and Peter's boss continually underfoot. Materials continue to arrive and escalate from photos to films, books and actual girls. And when a police superintendent and bank inspector become part of the mix, the desperate trio hits fever pitch as discovery threatens at every turn.

While energetic and determined, "No Sex Please" succeeds in being merely amusing without crossing the threshold of its intended hilarity. The dialogue is ripe for laughs but loses out due to poor delivery and effortful acting. The show's saving grace lies in the excellent Kyle Smith, who single handedly snatches the play from the brink of mediocrity with his delightfully frenzied Brian Runnicles. Smith is tremendously engaging and shows a great feel for the material as well as the rhythm of British speech and comedy. Mary Galde is the second bright spot of the evening, natural and believable as Peter's intrusive mother Eleanor.

While critics unanimously panned Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot's farce on its debut in 1971, packed houses kept the show running in London's West End for almost a decade with over 6,700 performances. However, it didn't survive its transplant to Broadway in 1973, logging only 16 performances before succumbing to American opinion. The Fremont production could have audiences similarly unbalanced, with some simply up for a laugh and others aware of the unique style of British comedy lost in American hands.

Tickets are $22 general admission and $17 for seniors, students, and TBA members, with Thursday performances $15 for all. Sunday matinees are July 27, August 3 and 10 and cost full price. July 27 and August 3 performances offer a continental brunch at 12:15 p.m. before the 1 p.m. curtain, and on August 10 English tea, scones, and sandwiches will be available during intermission. All refreshments are included in the ticket price. For reservations and more information call (510) 683-9218 or visit online at www.broadwaywest.org.


No Sex Please, We're British
July 18-August 16
Thursday - Saturday
8 p.m. (Sundays 1 p.m.)
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay Street, Fremont
(510) 683-9218
Tickets: $15-$22

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