News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

An English thing

Michele Maxwell injects life into Hitched at the Kalk Bay Theatre. Photo: Paul Tosio

It is unpleasant, after inviting someone to a play, to feel embarrassed about what you’ve brought them to watch. To not quite believe them when after the show they say they “enjoyed it” and refrain from pressing them: “Did you? Really?”

I hate it when that happens. Which is, thankfully, rarely. But it did happen on the opening night of Hitched.

There were expectations that, although tongue-in-cheek, it would offer some food for thought, being a play about the vagaries of marriage and intimate relationships in the mould of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward. The question posed was: “Knowing what you know now, would you marry the same person twice?” Written by two of the founding members of the Oxford University Playwriting Society, Dr Barbara Whitfield and Paul Tosio, with Tosio directing, it soon became apparent that although the text might read well, the translation to stage was clumsy.

The comedy that was meant to lead us into unwittingly contemplating meaningful issues wasn’t very funny, and there was little to contemplate.

The one part of the script that could have led somewhere, the question of ambivalence in one’s feelings toward a spouse, the land of indecision that is a torture to inhabit, remained unexplored.

The set, although good looking, was changed around far too often. I lost count of the number of times the lights went down, resulting in me contemplating whether another glass of wine after the show would put me beyond the legal limit or not rather than looking forward to what would occur when the stage lights came on again.

The actors, although they tried valiantly – especially the women, with Michelle Maxwell gamely attempting to throw sparks into damp kindling – could not lift the overly-long play beyond middling.

The best I can say is that Hitched was a mediocre offering, which is also perhaps the worst thing of all things to say.

My partner was kinder, insisting that she really did enjoy it, but I suspect she was being polite. Perhaps its an English thing.

Hitched runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre until February 26. — Steve Kretzmann, West Cape News

Tags: kalk bay, Kalk Bay Theatre, michelle maxwell, noel coward, oxford university

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