THEATRE REVIEW – Taking Steps” by Alan Aykbourn – The New Vic Theatre
The latest production at the New Vic theatre in Newcastle is “Taking Steps” by Alan Aykbourn, being shown in tandem with another Aykbourn play “ A Brief History OF Women” ( to be reviewed here later this week)
Aykbourn says that “Taking Steps” is his only true farce but it’s not a Whitehall farce in the Brian Rix sense. There is not a door in sight and whilst characters end up in the wrong bed with the wrong person (entirely accidentally, of course) the main feature of the play is the fact that, in a theatre in the round, all the action takes place over the three floors of a large house rented by Roland ( Russell Dixon). Add to this the fact that the house is reputedly haunted and you can begin to imagine the scene.
It does take some suspension of disbelief to imagine the action taking place over the three floors, sometimes all at the same time but this does add to the humour of the play. At first glance the crowded set appears confused but the audience soon twigs that it’s three floors of the house condensed into one set with two sets of banisters representing the stairs.
The plot, such as it is flimsy, but this doesn’t really matter as it’s the action, not the plot, that drives this play. Roland’s wife, Elizabeth, is on the point of leaving him, whilst Roland is concerned about buying the house from Leslie, the builder ( Leigh Symonds) with the dubious help of his solicitor Tristram (Antony Eden). Meanwhile Elizabeth’s brother Mark ( Laurence Pears) is trying to re-kindle his relationship with the ditzy Kitty (Laura Matthews).
Antony Eden is excellent as the tongue tied trainee solicitor and Laurence Pears makes the terminally boring Mark a very entertaining character.
In a crumbling house relationships are crumbling as two women struggle to escape from two boring men, and by the end of the play it looks like only one has succeeded. I won’t tell you which one, but “Taking Steps” runs at the New Vic theatre until Saturday October 28th. Get along and find out the answer for yourself.
Telephone the box office for tickets on 01782 717962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Ian Corbishley- Hitmix Radio
Photographs by Tony Bartholomew.