Porterhouse Blue review: ‘best in its moments of pure farce’

Going to the theatre to watch Porterhouse Blue , the newest comedy from established writing duo Ella Godfrey and Simon West, I didn’t really know what to expect. Tom Sharpe’s original novel is very popular, as is the Channel 4 series it inspired, but would it work on the stage? Would it be a pantomime farce, or a more biting commentary on Cambridge itself? Were there really going to be 2000 condoms on stage? As soon as the show began, with Cornelius Carrington (James Coe) delivering a monologue about the fictional Porterhouse College, Cambridge, I could see the answers arriving (but not about the condoms … that happened later). The story itself transfers easily to the stage: in brief, the new master Sir Godber Evans (an impressive performance from Ravi Patel) attempts to bring Porterhouse out of its conservative traditions, but (shockingly) it doesn’t turn out to be as easy as he’d hoped. The cast generally deliver it well. Though there were a few moments when the stereotypical posh voices employed by the actors slightly trampled over their clarity and so resulted in a missed punchline, on the whole the performances were strong. Worth noting in particular are Tom […]

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