Review: Cox and Box

Yes, they’re back. Mr Cox and Mr Box with their landlady Mrs Bouncer have returned to Scarborough for more musical mayhem in this delicious double bill. If you caught them first time round you’ll know that Sir Arthur Sullivan’s brilliant one-act musical farce is followed by Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy, set in modern-day Scarborough. Two new cast members – Darren Southworth and Emilia Williams – join Lara Stubbs, with Mark Gordon doing the honours on the piano.

If you didn’t catch them last year then you’re in for a treat. And if you did, then go again. Second time around the songs are even wittier, the sight gags better and the general mayhem somehow more hysterical. You notice things that have passed you by first time around – I hadn’t noticed that, as well as Mr Cox and Mr Box, there is a Mr Knox who, of course, lives near the docks.

Sullivan’s plot – as if it mattered – revolves around the hopeless efforts of a boarding house landlady trying to swindle a couple of lads by letting the same room to them. They become painfully aware of each other’s presence when a bacon rasher and a chop appear on the selfsame griddle.

Fast forward 150 years and the same boarding house room is now shared by twin sisters. Polish migrants, they are swindling the landlord out of a double rent, while making valiant efforts to pose as Tykes. Why? Because ‘UZIP’ is the anti-immigrant party now in government – and Bob the landlord a paid-up member.

The songs are wonderful, voices a delight. A sublime double-bill, played with verve and wit – don’t miss.

Roger Osborne

Cox & Box / Mrs Bouncer's Legacy run at the SJT until 30 May. Then touring in Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Wakefield

Last modified onTuesday, 02 June 2015 02:31
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