Review: You Say Tomatoes; The Garrick

Carole Bardsley and David Kendrick in You Say Tomatoes. (s)
Carole Bardsley and David Kendrick in You Say Tomatoes. (s)

A vibrant mosaic of character and romance was presented by The Garrick last week.

A marriage of love and comedy pirouetted on stage in a production of You Say Tomatoes - written by Bernard Slade and directed by Martin Chadwick - at The ACE Centre, Nelson.

In this warm and witty tale, American TV producer Libby seeks the screen rights to the novels of British author Giles. But the road to romance is filled with potholes, the mismatched pair loathing each other’s national culture.

For the most part, characterisation was as rich, detailed and colourful as the scenery: an English eccentric’s study; a messy but hipster New York apartment. But at times, I admit, it seemed a little undercooked.

Sparkling chemistry, nevertheless, between Carole Bardsley and David Kendrick made for a believable romance: burning sexual tension tenderising into empathy and understanding.

David Pilkington as Fred walked straight in from Only Fools and Horses: bright, breezy, fun; wheeling warmth and comedy like curls of sunshine on a summer’s day.

For personal reasons, Bardsley used her script on stage. This slowed her performance and a degree of naturalness was lost but given her private challenges she did a terrific job at delving into the vulnerabilities of Libby, delivering a sassy and assertive personality underpinned by insecurity.

Kendrick, with his sharp comic timing, was marvellous as Giles, investing the character with a wealth of idiosyncrasies and a charming wit cracked by insecurities.

Though at times a little uncertain, Katy Taylor presented an adorable personality as Daisy, injecting her with warmth and enthusiasm.

Costume changes were a little slow but for the most part the pace bounced along with ease - much like the bell-aching laughter reverberating about the theatre.

This indeed was a play rich in colour: of comedy and character.