Theatre review: Diary of a Nobody at the King’s Head Theatre
- Credit: Archant
Charles Pooter is one of the greatest comical characters in English literature, a prince of platitudes who records simply and honestly all the trifling details of his life with hilarious results.
He was invented in 1888 by George Grossmith, the principal comedy star of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, along with his brother Weedon.
Mary Franklin’s adaptation is humorously inventive and the wonderfully imagined setting and costumes by Carin Nakanishi are stunning and totally true to the actual sketches made by John Laurence. It is as if Pooter himself had illustrated his journal.
Jamie Treacher gives an excellent straight-faced performance as Pooter; he is the only one who keeps the same character throughout and takes his role seriously and correctly so.
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This is an amazingly controlled performance in a positive ocean of maniacs. The others jump in and out of the various characters who are present in Pooter’s life and they occasionally quote lines from the journal too.
This all sounds crazy but it is a crazy production. There are some wacky performances from the cast including Jordan Mallory Skinner who has extraordinary dignity and comic timing as Carrie Pooter – wife of our hero – and also plays his aged boss Mr Perkupp.
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George Fouracres is quite wonderful as Gowing and as Lupin, Pooter’s son. The servant, Sarah, is played by Geordie Wright who does quick doubles as Cummings and Lupin’s awful girlfriend Daisy Mutlar – all these managed by a simple change of accent and hat. The set is equally changeable. There is one door – just too short to allow the characters to enter easily and it has to serve as both front and back doors, so must be carried by the cast from one side of the stage to another every time a visitor rings the bell or knocks on the door. It is chock full of jokes, perhaps a few too many and occasionally, the actors appear to be a little out of control but it is always enjoyable – even though, in my opinion, the first act is just a tad long.