Bedroom Farce: National Theatre Reviews

Bedroom Farce opened at the National Theatre in 1977. This page presents extracts from some of the major reviews of the London premiere of the play. Although largely not featured on this page, Bedroom Farce did create a considerable amount of debate as to whether it should even have been staged by the National Theatre rather than being in the commercial West End. For those wishing to further explore this topic, the main proponents were the Daily Telegraph, the International Herald & Tribune, The Listener, Plays & Players and The Stage (dates of publication can be found on the Further Reading page).

Daily Express (Herbert Kretzmer)
"There has not been laughter like this since the National Theatre opened its doors. There can be little doubt that
Bedroom Farce co-directed by the author and Peter Hall, is going to be one of the hot tickets of the year."

Daily Mail (Jack Tinker)
"[Ernest and Delia] as played by Malcolm [sic - this should read Michael] Gough and Joan Dixon [sic - this should read Hickson] show to devastating effect the author's brilliance with the dull details of average family life."

Daily Telegraph (John Barber)
"The plot is tenuous and somewhat protracted, with a plethora of short scenes of only revue-sketch strength. But the characters are swiftly identifiable and the whole thing is ingeniously crafted and slips down like cream."

Evening News (Felix Barker)
"Without frills or pretensions, this is a gloriously funny piece of work…. Despite the title, there is no hint of impropriety and a wonderful absence of mechanical contrivance. Directed by the author and Peter Hall, the actors extract every nuance of humour."

Evening Standard (Milton Shulman)
"Although this farce takes a little while to get into top gear and some of the situations are rather obvious. The direction by Alan Ayckbourn and Peter Hall builds up to a hilarious climax that should keep the National happy for some time to come."

Financial Times (B.A. Young)
"It is Mr Ayckbourn's uncanny ability to make his ordinary characters so extraordinary that makes them all seem like stars; and so they do in this production under the author and Peter Hall's direction."

The Guardian (Michael Billington)
"Alan Ayckbourn's
Bedroom Farce is a wickedly funny play about the blithe inconsiderateness of the suffering. Cocooned in selfishness, they reduce the lives around them to ruins. And while Ayckbourn has touched on this before, I don't think he has handled it with quite such precision as he does in the second act of this beautifully rhythmed play."

International Herald Tribune (John Walker)
"The play is as deft and as funny a comedy as Mr Ayckbourn has yet written, which means that it is extraordinarily deft and extremely funny."

New Statesman (Benedict Nightingale)
"For this
is a comedy, in spite of the urban disenchantment, and a funny, inventive one."

The Observer (Robert Cushman)
"It is not, in decibel terms, an enormously hilarious evening: the main pleasure comes from seeing Mr Ayckbourn solve his latest puzzle…. Once again, he has failed to do full justice to his own talent; but it is something to have the talent."

Punch (Sheridan Morley)
Bedroom Farce is a painfully funny play about people in trouble…. [it is] arguably his best play to date and certainly on a par with both The Norman Conquests and How The Other Half Loves."

The Stage (Douglas Blake)
"This new play sets out to make people laugh and succeeds with Ayckbourn's customary facility at exposing the foibles of the characters he chooses to examine."

Sunday Times (Bernard Levin)
"There is at last good reason, in addition to the chocolate cake, for visiting the National Theatre.
Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn is a joyous nothing that makes up for many bleak nights of pretentious somethings…. Mere entertainment? True, but what, pray, is so mere about entertainment?"

Tatler (Clare Colvin)
"There is no great message to be gleaned from
Bedroom Farce, apart from the fact that marriage can make people look appallingly foolish. It is simply extremely funny and adds up to marvellously enjoyable evening, which is a good reason to go and see it."

The Times (Irving Wardle)
"The play marks the return of Ayckbourn the virtuoso technician and comic gymnast. Already two years old, the play may not represent his present line of work, but it is as funny as anything he has written."

All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.