This time the laughter is more sporadic, mainly due to the fact the play seems overlong. The plot again concerns Myrtle Banbury, the queen of the romantic novel, who is in fact a divorced man, living with his daughter and his father, faced with the problem of explaining the whereabouts of Myrtle as an investigative journalist cum medium arrives to interview the famous author. Sheila Ballantine brings a nice touch of Louella Parsons' persona to the role. With microphone, ear pieces and speakers, the family sets up a three-way telephone call from Aunt Myrtle, who is supposedly somewhere up the Amazon.
When the novelist's former wife arrives, having never met her ex-husband's talented Aunt Myrtle - who decides to put in an appearance - the ensuing scene between the two is beautifully played by Karen Ascoe and Williams. Gareth Thomas is the sympathetic father and Amy Williams - Williams' real daughter - proves she has inherited the family talent.
The start of Act II, with its sparkling dialogue, is by far the funniest part of the play with Williams at his best in drag as Aunt Myrtle. It is the first half that takes a long time to get going as the family plans to rid themselves of Myrtle Banbury for good.
By Sheila Tracy
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Last updated on 27th of July 2003.