Mike Harding's Fur Coat and No Knickers is a hilariously funny satirical portrayal of British society that examines the interrelated themes of pride, stereotypes and social status. Although the keen wit of the script itself is funny on its own, bringing it to life is a challenging task and one that Imperial Medics Drama have approached with energy and enthusiasm.
The play takes us through the story of Deirdre Ollerenshaw (Resham Baruah) and Mark Greenhalgh?s (Ben Patterson) wedding. Deirdre Ollerenshaw is from a working class background whilst Mark?s father is a wealthy businessman and councillor. The interplay within the Ollerenshaw family is highly amusing even before the introduction of the Greenhalgh family further stirs things as both families feign amicability whilst bad-mouthing each other whilst backs are turned. In particular Deidre?s brother Peter (John Scott), an unpublished poet and part time anarchist enjoys taunting his father (Richard Moss), an ex-military man who believes in discipline and respect for authority. The disastrous drunken exploits of Mark?s stag night and Peter, the anarchist?s exposure of Ronald Greenhalgh?s (Ed Neil-Gallacher) corruption alongside the stress of the wedding itself drive the play towards its climactic end.
All the cast committed themselves to playing their characters with energy and the result was a very funny and snappy play. David Bonsall?s delivery of the geriatric and slightly senile Nip?s lines earned him many laughs from the audience, as did the eternally drunken and bewildered Priest (Andrew Wheeler).
The main criticism that I would make of the play as a whole is that in playing the characters as such extreme stereotypes, not only was much of the subtler humour of the play lost but some of the more obvious jokes were also killed. It is a great temptation to ?ham? jokes but many jokes are often funnier if played by characters that are truly believable and are very alike people the audience will have met in real life. Having said that, sufficient jokes came through to continually entertain the audience and the stereotypical characters themselves were funny.
From a technical point of view the set was excellent, giving a very believable setting for the play and it was well lit. The use of projections in the wedding worked very well indeed. It was a little disappointing however that both before and during the play the stage management were a little more visible than they perhaps could have been.
In summary it is an energetic production that is guaranteed to have the audience laughing. Highlights: Kevin's (Andrew Al-Rais) Bannanaman imitation sequence, the most horrendous bridesmaids? dresses in existence and a cameo joke to the wittering old fool from the Catholic Club (Idris Harding) ?What are you like?! You should stand for ICU President?.