Here’s a puzzler to confound, should you happen to find yourself at a party surrounded by theatrically persuaded people: What is the connection between Before the Party and the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
Give up? Well, the latter wouldn’t be quite the same without the formers’s writer. Academy Award nominee, Hitchcock collaborator and BTP playwright Rodney Ackland is also credited with discovering Chitty star Sally Anne Howes. That’s if you believe the Gospel according to St Wiki. We do. Who would think to make that up?
But his 1949 play (based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham) is a bit of a puzzler itself. Part family drama, part melodrama, part satire, part comedy and – in this production – bearing absurdist overtones and (rather redundantly) animation. It’s as if Ackland were delving into the darker recesses of Terrance Rattigan’s psyche and percolating it through a wafer thin filter of Joe Orton. Read the rest of this entry »