The warmth of this 1992 seaside comedy reverberates round the walls of the Jermyn Street Theatre. Fresh from a run in New York as part of the Brits off Broadway season, the production’s early scenes sizzle - in stark contrast to the romance at its centre.
Alan Drake and Charlotte McKinney in Kissing Sid James at Jermyn Street Theatre, London
Alan Drake and Charlotte McKinney are brilliantly cast as the mismatched pair who, having thrown caution to the wind and embarked on a romantic weekend together, now have to endure it. Drake plays Eddie’s innocence perfectly while McKinney draws out Crystal’s frustration and loneliness. Together, they stage a sex scene that is both hilarious and excruciating.
The outdated B&B room in Mike Lees’ set pulls the audience out of central London and to a world of rainy holidays and cheap ice cream. The action feels less convincing when it moves out of these four flowery walls in the latter stages of the play, and Eddie and Crystal’s two drunken tours through the audience feel like they should carry their own risk assessment.
Farquhar’s gags speak to a long tradition of bawdy British romantic comedy. The Carry On reference in its title colours the play’s humour, but Farquhar does not shy away from heartbreak. A reverie on what-might-have-beens, Kissing Sid James feels timely as summer 2012 draws to a close.