Close Quarter Productions and Jermyn Street Theatre present
The Dover Road
by A.A. Milne
Jermyn Street Theatre
Tue, 6th September – Sat, 1st October
Running Time 2 hours, with one interval
Monday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday Matinees 3.30pm
Review: Tom Aitken 10 September
Something of a surpriseI suppose that if I were to tell you that A.A. Milne’s The Dover Road is a wife-swapping comedy you might come to the conclusion that I had taken leave of my senses. How could such a thing possibly have occurred?
A.A. Milne? The man who wrote Winnie the Pooh. And we’re talking 1922. For heavens’s sake!
Such a reaction would be entirely understandable. But in the conversations we watch taking place there is little or nothing to bring a blush to the face of a young person.
Nevertheless marital infidelity amongst the younger generation is certainly the theme of the play. Much of the conversation we overhear has a ring of truth. Something like this might have happened from time to time in the early 1920s, when the play was written.
What does, however, take us into the realm of fantasy is the way the stories of two couples are interlinked by the eccentric gentleman living near the Dover Road. This strange fellow who contrives (we’re not told how) to become aware of unmarried couples driving past his house on the way to catch a boat to the (as we all know, totally immoral) continent of Europe. He takes to intercepting, capturing and in the nicest possible way imprisoning them, in the hope that they will come to realise the error of their ways.
What if someone behaved in this way? Would his scheme for restoring them to the straight and narrow (assuming it was possible) actually work?
We are left to make our own minds up on that one.
The play is consistently amusing, if not always absolutely believable. It is acted on the assumption that what we see is plausible (which is hardly the case, but never mind.) And, strangely perhaps, it does make you think about fidelity and such matters. It does not outstay its welcome and our laughter is generally sympathetic.