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Love on the Links review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a gleeful Wodehouse adaptation’

Rob Whitcomb and Tiffany Graves in Love on the Links at Salisbury Playhouse
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Gosh, what larks were had at the 19th hole in PG Wodehouse’s golfing tales. Writers Jon Glover and Edward Taylor move the setting from the 1920s to the late 30s on the eve of the Second World War, but allow nothing to overshadow the fun of this gleeful adaptation.

Given the umbrella title Love on the Links, it’s unsurprising  that romance, mostly of the lovelorn, thwarted variety takes centre stage. Led by the bibulous Oldest Member, played with effervescent charm by Michael Fenton Stevens, a quartet of golfers re-enact cautionary tales of other members whose romances went awry.

The tone is bluff, hearty and slightly overblown, performed with gusto by the cast of seven, most of whom take on multiple personalities to persuade dashing young Jack Ramage (an earnest Adam Jackson-Smith) that he is still in with a chance with the elusive Daphne Cartwright.

Golfing paraphernalia, fixtures and fittings lying around the clubhouse of designer James Button’s versatile set are called into service as props: plenty of opportunity to turn a handbag/golf bag combo into a crocodile and sofas into punts.

It’s been done before and sometimes it seems over-engineered, but director Ryan McBryde pushes the whole thing along at a vigorous pace, building satisfyingly to a climax of unashamed farce, involving swinging from ceiling lights and impersonating lamp-stands, before all ends well.

Tiffany Graves, David Shelley, Rob Witcomb and, particularly, Jenna Boyd throw themselves enthusiastically into the shenanigans under the disapproving eye of Tim Frances’s grumpy barman.

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Gleeful adaptation of PG Wodehouse's golfing tales