A gem of comic theatre without any crudity

Last of the Duty Free
Last of the Duty Free

Last of the Duty Free, 
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

Eric Chappell’s Last of the Duty Free, playing in Eastbourne this week, is a real family affair.

Not only does it reunite three of the original cast members from the 1980s television series Duty Free – Keith Barron, Gwen Taylor and Neil Stacy – it also features Keith’s son James Barron in a major role.

It does not matter if you never saw the original series because this play is set in the present and how the four main characters know each other is quickly explained.

It is hilariously funny and it is a joy to see the three “old school” actors who know how to articulate properly and have such great stage presence.

Gwen Taylor is an absolute joy to watch in anything she does and is brilliant in her role as Amy.

Her ageing husband who still thinks he is the Playboy he was 30 years ago is equally brilliantly played by Keith Barron.

Neil Stacy is the pompous husband of Linda who has never forgotten David (Barron) moving in on his wife when they previously met at the Spanish hotel and still wants to kill him.

Stepping into Joanna Van Gyseghem’s shoes as Linda is Carol Royle and the part fits her like a glove.

Keith’s son James is Jeremy the army officer who is on honeymoon with his dizzy young wife Clare, played by Maxine Gregory, and both play their parts very well.

Providing a lot of the comedy just by his slow service and his facial expressions is Graham Elwell as the slowest waiter in the world, Carlos.

On a beautiful set designed by Julie Godfrey this is a real gem of comic theatre, full of innuendos without any crudity.

The production is directed by one of the country’s leading directors Roger Redfarn.

By Amanda Wilkins