Ken Longworth: Fast and furious farce

STEVE McLauchlan is playing a very lively dead man in the comedy Kindly Keep It Covered. Indeed, he’s a faster mover than the guests staying at the health farm his wife bought with the proceeds of a hefty insurance payment she received on his demise.

The deceased Sidney is continually on the run to avoid being seen by wife, Julia, his formidable mother-in-law, and the wife of the head of the insurance company that made the payout who is checking in for a healthy break.

One man who does become aware that Sidney has risen from the dead is Roland, Julia’s new husband. Events lead to him becoming deeply involved in trying to keep Sidney’s presence a secret.

Kindly Keep It Covered is being staged by Newcastle Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ Comedy Club for a four-weekend dinner season at St Matthew’s Anglican Church Hall, Georgetown, from October 21.

The company had a hit last year with another farcical comedy, A Bedfull of Foreigners, that was written by the same author, Dave Freeman. Freeman was one of Britain’s most acclaimed comedy writers in the second half of the 20th century, writing shows for comedians including Frankie Howerd, Sid James, and Tony Hancock, and comedy film scripts, among them two Carry On films.

Steve McLauchlan said the pace is really fast in Kindly Keep It Covered, with the action happening in real time.  

Sidney has to reveal himself to Roland because he wants a key to the deposit box containing the remaining insurance money. Roland co-operates reluctantly, because he doesn’t want his wife to be found to have been involved in a deception that led to the payout.

A further complication is the arrival of a policewoman who is looking for a stolen hamper.

The cast also includes Geoff McLauchlan as Roland, Amanda Rietdijk as Julia, Jen Masson as the over-bearing mother-in-law, Sandra Monk as Vanessa, the wife of the insurance company head, Peter Eyre as a pestering constantly hungry guest, and Natalie Burg as the policewoman. John McFadden directs.

There is also a large male puppet character, bought by Roland at an auction. While Roland invariably bids at auctions at the wrong time, the puppet proves to be a useful purchase.

Kindly Keep It Covered runs from October 21 to November 12, with dinner shows on Friday and Saturday that have the pre-show meal beginning at 7pm, and show-only matinees on Sundays, October 30 and November 6, at 2pm. Dinner and show is $40; show only $20. St Matthew’s Hall is at 7 Wentworth Street, Georgetown. Bookings: 0432 886 149. 

THE CAST: Back row: Steve McLauchlan, Natalie Burg, Amanda Rietdijk, Geoff McLauchlan, Peter Eyre. Front: Jen Masson, Sandra Monk.

THE CAST: Back row: Steve McLauchlan, Natalie Burg, Amanda Rietdijk, Geoff McLauchlan, Peter Eyre. Front: Jen Masson, Sandra Monk.