TOM, DICK AND HARRY REVIEW. Comedy by Ray and Michael Cooney. Directed by Johann van  der Merwe. Set design Fin McCormick. Background design and painting Esmeralda Viljoen. Set Decor Charmaine and Laura Singh. Sound/Lighting Laura Singh Presented by Milnerton Players at Milnerton Playhouse. Weekends only until 1 April, 2023. SHEILA CHISHOLM attended media night.

In his programme message, Barry Strick, (Milnerton Players Chairman) notes Ray and Michael Coney’s Tom, Dick and Harry is ‘fast paced farce.’ After laughing through this two-act comedy, I agree – this script is speedy fast and is delivered at top speed by three Kerwood brothers.

Tom Dick and Harry Milnerton Players
Andrea (Petra Baker) wheels Katerina (Nasreen Adhikari} as suspicious constable Downs (Danalia Borman} looks on.

It is however Anton Schafer (Tom) who takes top prize for his intelligible patter soliloquies. Because we heard every word, Schafer is awarded a Gold Star for impeccable diction and confident delivery. Had director Johann van der Merwe just guided him to moments of quiet anger before raging, his distress at his brother’s outrageous suggestions of ‘help’ could have had a better balance.

Never-the-less, throughout the comedy Schafer held centre court as siblings’ Dick (energetic Donovan Burger) and Harry (newcomer Satchen Gush) constantly out-maneuvered him.

The place is Tom and Linda’s pleasantly furnished Kensington home where the couple anxiously await Mrs Potter’s arrival (Sheila McCormick). From the adoption agency, she’s coming to interview Tom and Linda (Grace Brain) to establish if they live a suitably stable life to adopt a baby. Their concern is that not being a property owner Mrs Potter won’t consider their application.

To calm her nerves, gently spoken Linda (she’ll make a wonderful mother) goes shopping. Seconds before she leaves, extrovert Dick bursts through the door rambling on about a trip to Calais in Tom’s van. He’s carrying a large box eventually revealing he’s bringing in contraband goods, as well as two Armenian illegal immigrants – Katerina (newbie Nasreen Adhikari) a delightfully mimer contrast to her extrovert, tippling grandmother Andrea (comedienne  Petra Baker).

Tom Dick and Harry Milnerton Players
Tom (Anton Schafer), Harry (Satchen Gush), Dick (Donovan Burger) Katerina (Nasreen Adhikari) Mrs Potter (Sheila McCormick) and Constable Downs (Danalia Borman) are held at gunpoint.

Witty lies

Shortly thereafter, Harry, in mortuary garb, arrives carrying a ‘body part’ filled black bag. Both Dick and Harry have ‘bizarre’ ideas to raise money for Tom and Linda to purchase the house they rent.

Around their ridiculous nonsensical ideas Ray and Michael Cooney’s humour is built. Tom, Dick and Harry is an atypical ‘hide skimpily clad girl-friend’ from frumpy wife’ bedroom giggle.

Oh! Yes! Fin McCormack’s artistically designed set has the mandatory doors and open window for quick entrances, exits. There are countless swiftly thought up witty lies.

Everything aspiring to trick staid Mrs Potter into believing that shenanigans she sees are not shenanigans. Not as gullible as Tom anticipated, Mrs Potter departs in high dudgeon.

In a huff Linda also left. She, not without reason, misunderstood Katerina, and smartly uniformed Constable Downs’ (Danalia Borman), presence. Fortunately, Downs is on hand when Russian crook Boris(Gillian Vosloo) arrives to collect blood money from Katerina and Andrea.

Split second timed action and interaction are essential ingredients required to bring out the fun and games of these playwrights’ writings. Van der Merwe’s capable direction enables this crew to take advantage of all nuances, subtleties and ‘double speak’ written into Tom, Dick and Harry. Which traditionally ends…. how? Pop off to Milnerton Playhouse to find the answer! It’s good fun.

What: Tom, Dick and Harry review
Where: Milnerton Playhouse Cape Town
When: Until 1 April 2023, evenings Fridays, Saturdays, 8pm. Matinees each Saturday at 2.30pm
Book: Here