Charles Essex reviews Tiptoe through the Tombstones at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth
Is it a Carry on film? Is it The Adams Family? Is it Agatha Christie’s And then there were none? No, it is Tiptoe through the Tombstones. This sequel to Tomb with a View was a wonderful homage to all these genres and with some Ealing comedy thrown in as well.
In a tribute to the Yorkshire Luddite author, playwright Norman Robbins, almost every expense was spared in the plain set of the dusty, bookless, sparsely-furnished library of the Tomb family mansion. But the cast, several of whom were new to The Priory, manoeuvred the wheeling and dealing and double crosses under the excellent direction of Mike Brooks – who also starred as the outstanding camp, resting actor Vernon making ends meet as a cleaner. The Tombs, latter day Borgias, were called to the reading of a will, a clichéd setting for which characters were going to get knocked off so the survivors inherited more until there were almost none (I did tell you).
That is not a spoiler as this reviewer did not see the ending coming. The second half was better than the first as Tombs fell by the wayside. In fact, two of the protagonists told us in the first few minutes what the plot was supposed to be but one knew that the best laid plans and all that...
Several of the characters were caricatures but, as well as Mike Brooks, Nicky Main was excellent as a brunette Barbara-anything-in-trousers-will-do-Windsor. Some of the jokes were telegraphed and predictable – a feature of the script, not the cast – but there was an enjoyable familiarity about this light entertainment. This was an ideal play for local am-dram theatre and now England’s World Cup run is over they should get the full houses that they deserve for this delightful comedy.
* The play runs until July 21. Call 0333 666 3366 or visit www.priorytheatre.co.uk to book.