Burton Taylor Studio
A priest, a journalist, a politician and a drunk are sitting in a room together.
The start of a bad joke. Or a very funny play.
Fourtissimo is a piece of new writing by Tom Garton. Essentially, it’s a play made up of four scenes of four men talking.
Hence the title.
During these scenes the four guys talk about their dalliances and downfalls with women. The concept is a standard “what men talk about when women aren’t there” number. What makes this fairly standard idea stand out is the alarmingly high level of comedy.
The play is essentially a sitcom and Garton doesn’t miss a chance to make a bad situation more entertainingly awkward for his characters.
When the politician unsuccessfully tries to reveal an embarrassing secret to his best friend, a Roman Catholic priest, he gives up with the line “you go love Jesus, you crazy”.
Not so funny on paper, perhaps, but on stage… such is the comic timing of the cast. Rhys Bevan playing Jacob, the slightly dirty twisted priest, and Alex Jeffery as the aspiring politician are both particularly hilarious.
Deadpan line after deadpan line is delivered wonderfully and their interaction with each other is a highlight. The characters in Fourtissimo are supposed to be caricatures of societal stereotypes, and the cast’s slightly exaggerated style brings the comic scenes to raucous life.
However, when the action moves away from the silly stuff, Garton’s writing is slightly less confident, hitting the occasional cliché, and for some of the scenes the depth of character naturalism delivers was rather missed.
This play may not take you on an emotional journey of self discovery, but it will make you roar with laughter: a perfect production for the late BT slot, and a pudding of a play to follow hall.