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The Unfriend | Wyndham’s Theatre

Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Mark Gatiss – the dynamic duo behind the critically acclaimed multi-award BBC series Sherlock The Unfriend takes centre stage at Wyndham's Theatre, promising a hilarious and riotous evening filled with slapstick, social disasters, and a plethora of punch lines.

 

The narrative unfolds around Peter (Lee Mack) and Debbie (Sarah Alexander), a couple whose excessive politeness and uptight demeanor set the stage for a comedy of errors. Enter Elsa Jean Krakowski, portrayed with eccentric flair by Frances Barber, a Trump-supporting character whose presence becomes a catalyst for chaos. Little do Peter and Debbie know, Elsa is suspected of multiple murders, turning their seemingly ordinary lives into a chaotic comedic rollercoaster.

 

Moffat and Gatiss masterfully blend Pinteresque absurdity with dark comedy, creating a perfect storm of hilarity. As the story progresses, the chaos and suspicion snowball into a relentlessly entertaining orgy of laughter, providing the audience with a thoroughly engaging experience.

 


Elsa's arrival initially stirs resentment in Peter and Debbie's teenage children, Alex (Jem Matthews) and Rosie (Maddie Holliday). However, her unique charm, aptly dubbed "Murder Poppins" by Debbie, works its magic, unifying the family in unexpected ways and setting the tone for the play's comedic brilliance. Adding to the mayhem are Nick Sampson's portrayal of a forgettable neighbour, intruding with questions about a collapsing garden wall, and Muzz Khan's pitch-perfect stoic performance as a policeman with stomach troubles after Elsa serves him a dubious sandwich. The second half takes the absurdity to new heights, introducing farcical, and well….lavatorial elements that keep the audience in stitches.

 

While Alexander impresses with her impeccable timing and lightness, it is Mack who steals the show with a physical and comedic masterclass, particularly in the uproarious toilet scene in Act 2 (no spoilers!). Sharing the spotlight is Barber, whose portrayal of Elsa is charismatic, larger than life and commands the stage with gleeful delight, delivering the play's most memorable lines.

 

Despite a few slow and loose moments in Act 1's exposition, the pace quickly picks up, and the audience warms up to the unfolding nightmare. Robert Jones' domestic set design serves as the perfect backdrop, enhancing the comedic elements and allowing the actors to shine.

 

The Unfriend is a funny, sharp and delicious comedy that keeps the audience laughing from start to finish. Moffat and Gatiss have crafted a much-needed, riotous bit of fun that is highly recommended for those seeking a light-hearted start to the new year. If you're in the mood for a good laugh, this is comedy gold that will leave you wanting more.

 

The Unfriend plays at the Wyndham’s Theatre until the 9th March. For more information and tickets, follow this link.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Manuel Harlan


DISCLAIMER: This is an unbiased review of the show and we do not support or condone the opinions of those involved.


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