Never in the name of British farce have so many worked so hard for so little . . .
Giddy young married couple Pelham Butterworth (Donald Sinden) and his wife Gay (Peggy Cummins) frenziedly pull every trick out of the bag – from slow double-takes to outraged innocence – in an effort to raise a giggle. For the record, Sinden does manage it a couple of times.
Like all young marrieds in British comedies, the Butterworths are hard-up but, of course, impeccably chic about the whole tiresome thing.
They try to raise some cash by renting rooms in their house (in Tregunter Road, Kensington, London SW10) to a bunch of “comic” lodgers. Cue for Peter Reynolds to adopt a funny accent and pose as an eccentric Polish political called Theodore Malek, for Georgina Cookson to simper wildly as dithery dancing teacher and frustrated spinster Thelma Cressingdon, and for Barbara Steele to undulate provocatively as a tempting model called Juliet Frost.
When the lodgers don’t pay their rent, Gay decides the only way out is to divorce Pelham so she can claim her dead aunt’s inheritance (which stipulates she must be divorced to cash in). Gay selects Thelma as “the other woman”, but it is Juliet who actually provides the evidence and holds up the finale.
The hoary old gags – like the loose stair rod that perpetually trips up the unsuspecting – are tedious.
Richard Wattis plays the family solicitor.
Mrs Compton Chamberlain