Monogamy Review

Richmond Theatre – until 2nd June

Review by Heather Chalkley


Our appetite for celebrity chefs has continued to grow over the decades, since Fanny Cradock’s TV debut with Kitchen Magic in 1955. The window into these seemingly perfect lives of culinary genius’ has tempted Betts to take a comedic peep behind the curtain, with hilarious effect. The constant fudging of the line between the professional and personal life of TV Chef Caroline Mortimer (Janie Dee), offers a plate full of belly laughs, wrapped up in the tortuously real lives of her family and associates.

The set is the light and airy perfection of a TV kitchen at Caroline’s home, stocked more with bottles of booze than gastronomic ingredients. Throughout Caroline produces a constant flow of glasses and bottles to keep everyone lubricated, particularly herself! The Creative Team have done a great job in delivering an authentic feel to the set, including Janie Dee cooking and preparing dinner in her role as Caroline.

Monogamy has the classic combination of 20 something son (Jack Archer) suffering angst, overbearing Dad (Jack Sandle), Mother (Janie Dee) in denial and the collateral damage that are the people who come into contact with them, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol and broken hearts. Charlie Brooks (Sally) ramped up her character from sad and depressed housewife to a seriously mentally ill, willing to kill woman in a transition master class. Jack Archer (Leo) was the reflection of many young men, seen by society as irrational and over anxious, yet actually determined and clear sighted if people (mainly parents!) cared to listen. Genevieve Gaunt (Amanda) brought light relief and contrast at the darkest moments as Caroline’s Aide, slipping in and out of different drug induced accents with no filter between brain and mouth!

Although the conclusion of the storyline was relatively predictable, it made how you got there even funnier. Bett’s has cleverly taken serious elements of the impact on family life that being a celebrity can have and turned it into a moment to be laughed at for all its pretentious privilege. Monogamy, in the end, is a challenge whatever walk of life.