Douglas Mayo reviews The Man In The White Suit starring Stephen Mangan now playing at the Wyndham’s Theatre London.
The Man In The White Suit is an adaptation of the famous Ealing comedy which is based on the play The Flower Within The Bud by Roger MacDougall and the screenplay by Roger MacDougall, John Dighton and Alexander Mackendrick.
Following his enormous success with The Ladykillers, another famous Ealing comedy, Sean Foley has taken on the mantle of playwright and director for this production, and as with The Ladykillers, no expense has been spared to bring this production to the stage.
Michael Taylor has created yet another slightly skewed set design. It’s brilliant in its conception, folding and unfolding, it allows the play to effortlessly move from scene to scene. Like a master magician, Taylor keeps upping the anti, but like a master magician it all comes together and it’s something to behold.
Stephen Mangan makes for an affable enough Sidney Stratton, there are moments of brilliance in the physical comedy Mangan brings to the piece throughout the evening. Kara Tointon as Daphne plays perfectly off Mangan’s madcap comedy. An independent woman in 1950’s Britain, she is often ahead of the game compared to the menfolk who are supposed to be running the show. The rest of the cast are all stereotypes of village working folk from that era, it’s a bit folksy but there are some laughs to be had but it somehow doesn’t quite gel.
Foley has enlisted Charlie Fink to provide a musical score of kinds that are bought to life by a skiffle band. The songs work well enough and they certainly keep the tone of the piece light. Underneath it all is the anti-establishment rhetoric that was prevalent in most of the Ealing comedies, there are even subversive jokes about climate change and Brexit, but they are overwhelmed by the explosions, gags, and insanity that hold this piece together.
As it stands, The Man In The White Suit is a tremendously enjoyable evening in the theatre and the audience seemed to be thoroughly enjoying every moment. The laughter on the night was certainly a tonic for the current madness going on outside.
Special Offer: You can now save up to 58% on tickets to The Man In The White Suit at certain performances. This offer is for a limited time and is from Monday to Friday evenings and Wednesday matinees.