Cambridge Arts Theatre – until 3rd February.
Reviewed by Boo Wakefield
Set in an immaculate kitchen in North London, Caroline’s Kitchen, written by Torben Betts, tells the story of Caroline Mortimer (Caroline Langrishe) who is a well-established TV cook. She has a beautiful house, a successful husband, Mike (Aden Gillett) who loves golf and a son, Leo (Tom England) who has just graduated with a 1st class degree. The play follows the evening where Caroline is rehearsing another episode of her cooking programme and Leo arrives home from university. This should be an evening of celebration but Caroline’s perfect private and public lives are set to clash with hilarious and disastrous consequences.
Whilst most of the first half was spent setting the scene and introducing the characters, the second half was fast moving and full of laughter with unexpected twists and turns to Caroline’s life through her family and her flirtatious PA, Amanda (Jasmyn Banks), her carpenter Graeme (James Sutton) and his wife Sally (Elizabeth Boag). Although a devoted couple, Caroline and Mike have a difficult and complicated relationship both with each other and with Leo, who drops several bombshells shattering the image of a perfect son.
There is a thunderstorm brewing outside adding to a dramatic undertone throughout the evening and as the storm ends, the play draws to an unexpected and amusing conclusion.
Congratulations must be given to Caroline Langrishe who was hardly off the stage all evening. The repartee between the characters was incredibly fast keeping you on your toes as it wove the many story lines together. Aden Gillett played the over powering husband and father with relish whilst Tom England’s Leo grew stronger as his revelations were exposed. A thoroughly enjoyable play which had all the audience still chuckling as we left the theatre – a good sign of a great piece of entertainment.
Caroline’s Kitchen has been reworked by Betts from his play Monogamy which toured last year. The play continues to tour nationally until 13th April 2019 and will transfer to New York later in 2019.