She’s Done it Again

(Phoneix Ensemble)


A parson with no pants, a cream-covered blonde, a loaded tax collector, a rusty gynaecologist and three pregnant women get together for a “quiet” weekend in a remote English hotel. Of course what ensues is anything but.

Directed by Jo Castle She’s Done it Again opens with the boyish and whimsical Freddy (Ron Scott) deliberating on his investment in the hospitality industry. A chronic gambler, he bemoans his rotten luck to his father, Pop (Bill Gleeson) a one-time gambler who gave it up so he could pursue the delights of alcohol. He brightens up with the entrance of Sylvia (Doreen Ingram) the ditsy blonde who spends much of the play looking for her dress after it is soiled in an, er, pastry incident.

The perpetrator, Freddy’s cousin Hubert (David Hamblyn), also arrives at the hotel with his pregnant wife Mary (Elizabeth Brown). Hamblyn plays the role with ample colour, complemented by Elizabeth Brown’s dry wit. The rector, Hubert, has arrived to help Freddy with some financial difficulties and instead finds himself with many of his own.

As luck would have it who else is coming to stay but Freddy’s tax agent, Rodney Percival (Rene Harreman). As a result of some creative tax cuts, Freddy and Pop find themselves assuming the identities of the multiple staff members who are supposed to work at the hotel.

The real trouble starts when Whisper (Alex Milosevic) arrives with his pregnant wife Faith (Alana Hamblyn). He has come to see that Freddy makes good on some outstanding gambling debts and is agreeably menacing in the role.

Professor Hogg (Gerry Raymond) steals the show as the doddering local old boy and works well with his daughter Ada Hogg (Trish Willing). They arrive having escaped the perils of fishing photography, and are just in time to deliver the multitude of babies as they come tumbling into the world.

Rounding off the cast is the Bishop (Andy Macfarlane). Tight-lipped and down-to-business, he tries to bring some sense to the horseplay around him.

Written by Michael Pertwee in 1969, She’s Done it Again is a strong example of British farce. Fast-moving, the play is thick with camp humour and double entendre, and there is more than a slight resemblance to the classic Fawlty Towers (even down to the Spanish waiter). Casting is for the most part very good and the production runs smoothly. Fans of the genre should enjoy the play, although it is certainly an acquired taste and will not be to everyone’s liking.

But overall the Phoenix Ensemble should be pleased with their efforts: I think the audience were.

— Damian Sommerlad
(Performance seen: Thu 18th September 2003)