In St Petersburg, Agafya (Casualty’s Janine Mellor) has employed the services of the local matchmaker to find her a suitable husband-to-be.
Unfortunately the only suitors the matchmaker can muster up are the very dregs; drunkard navy man Naschermunchsky, played by Robert Morgan clearly channelling Ken Dodd, entrepreneur Omletskyy (Mark Extance), and Paul Trussell’s awkward Oddsoxsky, who reminded me so much of John Cleese, I kept expecting to break into the Ministry of Silly Walks routine at any moment.
Joining the odd array was Mark Fleischmann’s camp and dithering Podkolyosin who cannot decide whether he wants to get married.
But Podkolyosin is not going to get the choice as he is strong-armed into proposing by his exasperated friend, Midsomer Murders’ John Hopkins who, following his own unfortunate marriage at the hands of the matchmaker, decides that misery loves company.
But with such a sorry choice, whether Agafya will take any suitor is anyone’s guess. Quirky yet fun, the hilarious characters, right down to the cross-dressing maid, are fantastic although the greatest onstage chemistry came between Fleischmann and Hopkins.
Marriage is at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry until February 23.
Hannah Jennings Parry