Pass the Salt: A Heaping Portion of Laughs

Alice Shearon reviews Pass the Salt: A Play Peppered with Humour by Simon C. Lamb, which went up as part of the On the Rocks FestivalA preview portion of the play can be found in this article compiled before the show's premiere: otr Simon Lamb and Andrew Illsley, the directors of Pass The Salt (- a Play Peppered With Humour), are veterans of Mermaids Theatre with experience both in acting and directing in high quality shows. It is no surprise, therefore, that their collaboration, a farcical comedy of epically meaty proportions, lived up to their reputations and offered up a well-directed, incredibly calculated and hilarious portrayal of when things in an Italian restaurant go terribly, terribly wrong.Seeing the unique personalities of each character, all bringing different forms of hilarity and wit to the Mama Rose (the imaginary restaurant where the play was set) was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the play. There was a lot of chemistry in the cast, and as a result they were able to deliver lines and execute amusing gestures with ease and brilliance. When one member of the cast faltered or when a joke fell flat, there was always another character there to put the show back on track. The close attention to small details was also impressive, particularly in the case of Theatre critic, Ms. Sondheimmer (played by Ali Duncan-Young), who slowly worked her way through an entire bottle of wine as events escalated around her. PtS Programme Logo Special mention should also go to Philip Cleary, whose portrayal of a deliciously camp and flustered waiter was comical and perfectly timed. Andrew Illsley managed to be hilarious despite not uttering a word. Though overall the writing was witty and enjoyable, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable in response to the elderly letch, Gilbert Macsporra, with his dirty jokes and lip smacking. However, the disturbing realism of this character is probably more a compliment to the perceptive writing of Simon Lamb; his capability to also consistently play such an uncomfortable character deserves no small praise.Despite the show’s early sparkle, the vibrant energy and characterisation were less robust towards the end of the show. The wit and puns that came so easily in the first half were non-existent in parts of the second half, and the strangely serious monologue of the ditzy-but-secretly-genius character, Violet, felt ill-placed in a play where previous lines were as serious as the declaration that 'Clancy had gotten caught in the kippers'. The slapstick 'fight' scene left a lot to be desired, and its conclusion, sadly, got lost in a fumbling of arms and legs.Despite these few writing and staging issues, both cast and crew should congratulate themselves on a compelling, well-developed and generally delightful performance. Pass the Salt: A Play Peppered with Humour by Simon C. Lamb promised to serve up a treat, and it delivered with a serving of style and a heaping portion of laughs. Photo credits go to On the Rocks and Pass the Salt.