Matchbox Theatre

Last year, acclaimed author and playwright Michael Frayn released Matchbox Theatre: a series of short sketches or “entertainments” designed to be read rather than performed. That hasn’t stopped Hampstead Theatre mounting a production: delivered in-the-round, it starts with an actor introducing the evening to us, growing increasingly frazzled as she does so. This sets the scene for the varied sketches that follow.

Frayn is the author of the funniest play I have ever seen, Noises Off, so I was expecting big things from his new work. Sadly I was slightly disappointed. The quality of the sketches varied widely: some were very funny indeed (I particularly liked the restaurant scene in which one diner kept correcting the pronunciation of her neighbour) while others raised a smile rather than a laugh. Still an entertaining evening.

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