Caroline’s Kitchen review: Crazy night at Connaught Theatre, Worthing, with a serious message

Aden Gillett as Mike and Caroline Langrishe as Caroline
Aden Gillett as Mike and Caroline Langrishe as Caroline

Apocalyptic play Caroline’s Kitchen brings almost everything that could go wrong in people’s lives into one story.

Taking place in one continuous scene, the play shines the light on a woman who appears to have the perfect life, when in fact the opposite is true, not only for her but for everyone around her.

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Torben Betts was commissioned to write this new comedy by The Original Theatre Company, who bring it to the stage at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing this week, complete with possibly the most elaborate set you have ever seen.

It’s all very shiny and lovely as the story opens on set in Caroline’s kitchen, where the TV chef’s cooking programme is filmed.

But as the cameras fade and real life begins to play out, one person’s problems after another become apparent.

Caroline Langrishe is consistent in the titular role, seemingly lost in her own world as she tries to hold everything together.

It’s quite a while before Caroline’s husband Mike makes an appearance but as soon as Aden Gillett appears in the role, he commands the stage, strutting and striding about in a mixture of anguish and anger.

He is absolutely hilarious, glowing indeed, thanks to his sunburnt red face.

There are fine performances from the younger cast members, too, Elizabeth Boag as Sally, Jasmyn Banks as Amanda, Tom England as Leo and James Sutton as Graeme.

The whole play is chaotic both physically and verbally. Much of the time, no-one is listening to anyone else, so the dialogue does not flow like scripted conversation, it is disjointed, like real family life can be - and they do it so very well.

There are some great lines, too, and the structure often means these stand out even more. At one point, the whole audience erupted in laughter, which was lovely to hear.

The second half really picks up the pace, with the sounds of a storm raging outside mirroring the storm raging in the kitchen, and chaos ensues.

It is not what you expect and yet it is everything you perhaps should expect in this crazy world we live in. Be kind to each other. That is the message.

Caroline’s Kitchen is at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing until Saturday, with performances at 7.30pm daily and a matinee at 2.30pm today and Saturday. Visit worthingtheatres.co.uk for more information.