The Unfriend ★★★★ Criterion Theatre | Jan 15 - Apr 16, 2023

Steven Moffat's The Unfriend is a light and lovely comic confection based on a premise that we can all identify with. What if that 'vacation friend' to whom you said "we must keep in touch" actually showed up in your real life and decided to stay? And to make matters worse, what if you found out they might be a serial killer? This delightful little comedy based on the perils of politeness both amuses and discomfits in equal measure. Frances Barber is terrifyingly hilarious as Elsa, the Trump-admiring houseguest who may, or may not, have poisoned her family. Despite a somewhat eclectic American accent, Barber nails the part of the effusive, but slightly sinister, Elsa, and Reece Shearsmith is comic gold as Peter, her reluctant and easily distracted host. Shearsmith's timing is impeccable, and he can find laughs in the raising of an eyebrow. As Peter's wife, the wary and put-upon, Debbie, Amanda Abbington is simply terrific, and she makes it gleefully easy to identify with her diplomatic attempts to manage this impossible situation. Director, Mark Gatiss, always brings a deft touch to the show and never lets the pace lapse. If you're coming off a heavy meal of a day, this soufflé of silliness is the perfect afters!

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Manuel Harlan.

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