"A Laughing Matter", a play about the production of "She Stoops to Conquer" is, unfortunately, unworthy of its name. The kindest descriptor I can give the play is "tedious".
While it contains a few funny jokes and poingnant scenes, the play fails to make any real point. There are far too many useless scenes that should have been cut from the two-and-a-half-hour play. Further, "Laughing Matter" seems disjointed and overly didactic. The playwright crams volumes of encyclopedic knowledge into the play at the expense of plot.
Worse still, the play is full of purposeless vulgarity. Two very loudly acted sex scenes, bodily noise humour and one act of nudity only embarrassed an already bored audience. In short, "A Laughing Matter" stoops but fails to conquer. I recommend spending your pounds on Goldsmith's actual play, which contains the same superb actors in a well-written play.
• Until Saturday 29 March
• National Theatre, South Bank
• T 020 7452 3000