14 November 2005 | frankboccia
This has become a cult favorite among my family, their friends, and their friends' friends. I was foresighted (or lucky) enough to tape the original TV broadcast --and that IS lucky, since no one has seen fit to issue this marvelously funny play on either VHS or DVD. I can't understand why. It is a farce, and, like all farces, lives and dies by its timing and the author's language. This one lives gloriously. Just a handful of my favorite lines: Two men are talking in a crowded hallway of a restaurant, and one notices a waiter hurrying toward them with a raised platter: "Duck!" "No, pheasant." replies the waiter as he sweeps by.
Herr Zangler, discussing the idea of an impecunious young man marrying his niece, on being told that he has prospects and will inherit his elderly aunt's fortune: "And when will that be? You could wait forever, or until Belgium produces a composer!" And my favorite of all: A woman, on being informed that she is the wife of a man whom she's never met. The man apologizes and then goes on to say: "I'm afraid this is a presumption." "Presumption? Not at all! Presumption, one has met before."
As marvelous as the language are the performances of the cast --virtually all of them: Felicity Kendall, Alfred Lynch, Dinsdale Landen, Peter Bourke... well, all of them. Peter Wood's direction is flawless: The pace, the timing and the energy are maintained throughout the entire play; at no point does it flag and lose its comic momentum.
Here is my plea: Please issue this classic (and, by the way, you have to see the play to understand why that word is so appropriate) in DVD so intelligent viewers everywhere can enjoy it! Besides, my VHS tape is wearing out.