No real furs for farce

Producer Bruce James and Worthing Theatres are careful to make it clear: no real animal furs are used in this production.

Friday, 2nd September 2011, 1:36 pm

Times change, and with them so do fashions. Which is one of the reasons the farce Not Now Darling, written by John Chapman and Ray Cooney, isn’t done terribly often.

Key to it all is philandering Gilbert’s quest to give Janie a fur coat which she can wear without her husband becoming suspicious - not exactly something audiences would flock to now if they thought any real fur was involved anywhere down the line.

“It’s set in 1969 and it’s set in a fur shop,” Bruce says. “My uncle used to be a furrier and used to make an absolute fortune. But then everybody went very against fur, the bottom went out of the market and he went bust in the end.

“In this piece, the main premise is that guy wanting to buy a fur coat, so you have to play it as a period piece. A lot of the fur mentions wouldn’t make sense otherwise.”

Farces do tend to date in that respect. Bruce cites No Sex Please, We’re British where the shock is in the delivery of pornographic magazines to an office: “These days people wouldn’t bat an eyelid, and so the comedy would have gone.”

On the plus side, Bruce can have a little bit of fun with the fashions of the day - though he is anxious not to go too far. It mustn’t ever be about the costumes - or else, again you lose the comedy of the story.

And Bruce should know. He well appreciates just how the things he used to wear would rather overpower everyone and everything now.

Born in 1959, he was a child of the 60s and 70s and well remembers his six-inch heels and 24-inch flares, an effect he capped with the most startling of zip-up cardigans.

“I must have looked an absolute joke and there was me thinking that I looked the dog’s dangly bits!”

Starring funny-man Damian Williams (Are You Smarter Than Your Ten Year Old?), Not Now Darling is at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre from Tuesday, August 30-Saturday, September 3.