Jack Popplewell's Busybody directed by Rebecca Walters at the Metro Theatre is a drama that is filled less with suspense and more with a lot of comedy. The story starts with an investigation of a dead body found in an office that disappears by itself. And then it take turns in laughter and suspense as different events unfold.
The main highlight is Mrs Piper played by Alison Schamberger who did an amazing job. At the end of the show when she arrived to thank the audience, I observed a standing ovation by a few in the crowd. Though all the characters played an important role in supporting Mrs Piper's witty humour, I believe DS Baxter played by David Wallace was the best supporting actor to make her comedy a success. Schamberger was on the stage all the time, except for a few scenes. Being an office cleaner and in the habit of sticking her nose in everyone’s business, she kept poking everyone till the end of the show. Whenever Mrs Piper would frustrate Baxter, his reaction would echo laughter in the theatre. I liked his face going red when he shouted at her in frustration. Being a police officer, Baxter expected some kind of respect, but being old friends, Mrs Piper interfered in all his investigations. Surprisingly, by the end of the show she did indeed play a key role in solving the crime mystery.
It was funny to see frustrated Baxter’s shoe slipping into the carpet, though I'm not sure whether it was natural or scripted. Other humorous highlights included: the accountant chasing scene, in which Piper tries to hide herself behind an office plant and the whole plant shivers with her. Also when Vickie Reynolds played by Piper Macleod asks in a playful way, ‘Did you want me?’.
Everything including lights, intermission timing, actor stage positioning and stage decoration was well done. Please note that the play is set in a 1960’s office in London, and all the characters have an English style and accent. By the way, isn’t the name of the show intriguing? Sorry, I won’t help you here.
The Metro is a huge but old theatre. I noticed a slight odour when I entered the theatre but was okay in a few minutes. The seats are big and comfortable but a bit noisy. The auditorium has a balcony floor where you will find a nice lounge area and a bar, so please don’t hesitate to walk up if you are thirsty. Though the house was not full compared to the available seating, there were many people in the theatre, mostly above the age of forty. Overall, the experience is good if you are looking to add some laughter to your evening.
Metro Theatre is a non-profit theatre company, bringing joy to live audiences by its show Busybody until 17 November so please go ahead and be part of the laughter.
Tickets are available at: https://tickets.metrotheatre.com/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent61.html
~ reviewed by Gaurav Minocha
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