Happy Birthday

by Marc Camoletti
(translated by Beverly Cross)
directed by Frans van Baaren

 

Next to Classical and absurdist plays, French theatre has always been famous for its comedies and farces. Marc Camoletti has been very successful in continuing this tradition, of which "Happy Birthday" is a typical example. It is, of course, based on secret love affairs of the characters, combined with unfortunate misunderstandings. Bernard has somewhat foolhardily asked his mistress, Brigit, to his home on her birthday despite the fact that his wife, Jacqueline, is present. To lull Jacqueline's suspicions he has also invited his oldest friend, Robert, and asks him to complete the cover-up by pretending that Brigit is his own mistress. Robert refuses since he has been having an affair with Jacqueline, but Bernard involves him by low cunning. By chance, a temporary maid Jacqueline has engaged for the evening arrives when Bernard and Jacqueline are out and, her name also being Brigit, Robert mistakes for Bernard's girlfriend. Thus are laid the foundations for a shaky edifice of frantic complications in which identities, plots and counter plots - and bedrooms - are changed round with ever increasing confusion until an unexpected ending is reached which leaves everyone happy - not least the "temporary" Brigit who has acquired a mink coat and a wad of 5 notes.

Marc Camoletti was born in Geneva, of Italian parents, but has lived most of his life in Paris. His first-chosen career was painting, but he had always loved the theatre and started writing plays. He has had a dozen plays produced in Paris, including "Boeing Boeing", which ran for six years in the West End. Both "Boeing Boeing" and "Happy Birthday" were adapted for the English stage by Beverly Cross.

 

Cast

Jaqueline Mary Davidson
Robert Keith Rylands-Bolton
Bernard Hugh Dower
Brigit 1 Julie Taylor
Brigit 2 Noreen Bradford

 

Crew

Stage Management Angela Hunter, Karen Hunter & Gail Dennis
Set Design & Construction Graham Davidson
Set Painters Angela Hunter, David Broughton & Graham Davidson
Lighting Tim Bradford, Patrick Markham, Nigel Dring & Graham Davidson
Sound Ryan Dring & Matthew Lee
Continuity Jenny Brundle
Box Office Vicki Makin
Poster & Programme Design Diana Elrington
House Managers Ian Uprichard & Mary Davidson
Publicity Ruth Andrews, Mary Davidson, Marjorie Blatherwick & Graham Davidson