Review: Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown (Playhouse Theatre) JohnnyFox January 23, 2015 Musicals, Reviews Oh dear, I really wanted to like this, and hoped that the genius of Pedro Almodovar would resist the well-known truism that farce and musical comedy don’t combine – look at Lend Me a Tenor if you don’t believe me. Tamsin Greig has such a fabulous film and TV profile that getting her committed to even a twelve-week live theatre run is a precious opportunity, and it’s beyond infuriating that producers have jizzed it away with such an undistinguished show. Not that she’s bad, even though she’s not a great singer her unique brand of upper-middle-class anguish does ideally suit the situations that voice-over artiste Pepa finds herself in when she’s dumped by answerphone, hounded by her ex-lover’s insane ex-wife, and discovers she’s pregnant. When the insane ex-wife is the massively talented Haydn Gwynne sporting a faux-Chanel pink suit and faux-Courreges white patent boots, you’re even more convinced it’s a tragedy this isn’t a better farce. The plot moves with the urgency of glaciation. It takes over an hour in the first half to set up the principal farcial situation when Brian Rix could have done it in twenty minutes AND fitted in three bishops in their underpants. I mean, they don’t even get the mistaken identity gag of the man who’s come to fix the telephone till after you’ve lost the will to live. It’s had a pretty generous drubbing in the broadsheets and the blogs so doesn’t need my additional steel toecap in its solar plexus, so to salvage the good from it – it’s nice to see Haydn Oakley playing Haydn Gwynne’s son Carlos because he was so much more delightful than Reece Shearsmith as the chiropodist in the tour of Betty Blue Eyes. He’s the only likeable character in the ensemble most of whom are playing it too broadly and yet again a production wastes the talent of Michael Matus, so rapidly turning into a camp version of Stanley Holloway that a musical version of Passport to Pimlico must be on the cards. The set is smooth and curved in an art deco concrete way you don’t actually find much in Madrid and – thanks to a paintbox of saturation lighting effects – stunningly colourful, it’s just a pity the acting isn’t. The band have a great time, although they don’t seem entirely connected to the soloists, but their mambo rhythms were fun even if you couldn’t hum one next morning.