Review: Less Than Kind, Brighton Theatre Royal, Monday May 27 until Saturday June 1, by Terence Rattigan
If you want to go and see an enjoyable comedy, this could be the play for you.
Featuring top comedy actress Sue Holderness (best known as Marlene in Only Fools and Horses) playing Olivia Brown, I was looking forward to this a lot.
And it was funny – the play elicited a good number of full blown giggles, chuckles and laughs from me, with great performances from the whole cast.
While the action was set in 1944, it explored an interesting family dynamic which would resonate with today’s audience: how does everyone cope when a mother with a teenage son, gets a new boyfriend after her husband’s death?
And when it comes down to a choice: who do you pick? Your family or your lover?
Sir John Fletcher, played by William Gaminara, is the go get ‘em, right wing, industrialist and boyfriend of Olivia, while Michael Brown, played by Charlie Hamblett, is the innocent but ardent left winger, who is Olivia’s 17-year-old son, who has just returned from Canada, having been sent away when he was 12.
The stage is set for an ideological battle and a very emotional tug of love which could blow their worlds apart. And there are lots of references to hope for a new world after the war and a more equal society.
Plus there were some plot twists I did not see coming: I don’t think there’s any way you could describe the action as predictable.
It was slick, very funny and enjoyable. You’ll leave the theatre happy.
On a side note the play is based on Hamlet – even the title appears in the play when Claudius greets Hamlet as his cousin and his son, and Hamlet responds: “A little more than kin and less than kind.”