Theatre Review: The Man in the White Suit – Wyndhams Theatre  

The best thing about this rather disappointing show is Michael Taylor’s imaginative set which makes lovely use of screens and to create a scientific lab (big tubes and vents right to the ceiling) a pub, a stately home and a lot more.

Based on the 1951 film of the same name, The Man in the White Suit tells the story of Sidney Stratton (Stephen Mangan) who invents an indestructible cloth which will never need cleaning, thereby threatening the entire textile industry which runs on obsolescence.

Like Simon Foley’s earlier show based on another Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers, this is a farce but it lacks slickness, originality and wit. Then you get actors shouting unfunnily at each other, a few nostalgic skiffle numbers (words and lyrics by Charlie Fink) and some weary stick puppetry.

The worst thing, though, is the clunky predictable script. You can hear the jokes, such as they are, coming as if we were in low grade pantomime. 

It’s a pity because Stephen Mangan is very talented with his rubber body and good line in tellingly gormless facial expressions. He does his utmost to make something of his role but it’s an uphill struggle.

I liked, however, the jolly song about innovations and pensions complete with spoon playing and accordion continuo, Oliver Kaderbhai’s splendid drumming and a tango sequence by Mangan and Kara Tointon.

Review by Susan Rumsey

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