We stepped back to the 1990s with the latest production at the Forum studio theatre, a recreation of the classic laddish sitcom “Men Behaving Badly”.
Directed by Andy Jordan and James Radhi of RJ Productions, the show recreates 3 episodes of the sitcom which originally ran from 1992-98.
The first instalment serves as an introduction to the characters, who all manage to evoke the spirit of their TV counterparts. There is even a recreation of the opening sequence, shown on a TV screen , complete with the catchy theme music. Of the 4 leads Rob Lyons stands out as the childlike Tony, but is the interplay between the characters that stirs the play on, as the opening segment has a minimal plot. A VHS message to Dorothy filmed by Gary and Tony includes scenes filmed on Brook St and adds a touch of Chester magic to the proceedings.
In between the scene changes, pop songs from the 90s play and add to the sense of warm nostalgia. The play takes us back to a simpler age, when people didn’t stare at their phones all night in pubs, and a round of drinks cost £1.95. Its also a reminder of how attitudes have changed , with some of Tony’s actions being slightly creepy, a scene featuring a lead character sniffing another’s discarded knickers would unlikely to be transmitted today !
The show steps up a gear with the middle instalment, featuring a Rave and some great physical comedy as Tony competes with a student for the affections of Deborah. Finally “Watching TV” ends the show, and was the highlight for me. Time has moved on and Tony and Deborah are now a couple with Tony now “feeling like a King”. Featuring the cast mainly discussing an episode of Star Trek (City on the Edge of Forever for the fans amongst us)… whilst they wait for a pizza delivery. The cast rise to the occasion and by the time the theme tune plays at the end , complete with dancing, memories of Neil Morrissey and Leslie Ash etc are put to one side.
Men Behaving Badly is a light hearted look back at a simpler age and references to the 90s abound from The Spice girls to Carol Smilie.With great chemistry between the cast , it will have a great nostalgic appeal to many!
. The show runs until the 5th March. Details at www.tiptopproductions.co.uk
All pics Copyright (c) 2016 Mark Carline www.markcarline.co.uk