Taking Steps: Review

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The Stephen Joseph Theatre brings Alan Ayckbourn’s 1979 farce, Taking Steps to the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Set in the era in which the play was written, the action begins centre stage, surrounded with warm lighting and vintage-looking furniture props.

The audience are looking down onto the stage, as if given a secret glimpse into the characters’ home.

It takes a while at first to figure out who is who, but once you’ve got to grips with the simple yet effective set design, you can let the fun begin.

There are three floors in the house, superimposed upon one another in which action happens simultaneously.

Elizabeth (Louise Shuttleworth) is desperate to break free and leave her wealthy, elderly husband, Roland (Russell Dixon).

Her eccentric, love-struck brother, Mark (Laurence Pears) is infatuated with Kitty (Laura Matthews) his naïve, softly spoken ex-fiancée, whose lack of reciprocation is evident to everyone – but Mark!

Then along comes, Tristram (Antony Eden), a tongue-tied, awkward representative for Roland’s solicitor, who at the time has a ‘tummy bug’. Roland is less than impressed with Tristram’s inability to function a sentence.

The cheeky chappy builder, Leslie (Leigh Simmons) is supposedly the landlord for the apparent haunted home, in which Roland is currently renting and wanting to buy.

In reality, the house is not haunted, we see Elizabeth jumping up and down practicing her dancing, obviously leaving poor Tristram petrified of a ghostly presence as he thinks the house is empty.

The audience roar with laughter throughout, at the tongue-in- cheek, slapstick comedy.

Roland (who is a little too partial to a tipple) has a particular effect on the audience, with his almost aristocratic demeanour, leaving everyone in stitches.

Taking Steps is at The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-lyme from Tuesday 10 until Saturday 28 October 2017.

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