Cox & Box: Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy is a musical adaptation of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s one-act operetta Cox and Box with a modern, up-to-date sequel.
Director: Chris Monks
Adapted, with a sequel, by: Chris Monks & Richard Atkinson
Cast: Charlotte Harwood, Paul Ryan, Lara Stubbs
Venue: Stephen Joseph Theatre
This play starts off ‘somewhere in Yorkshire’ in the 19th Century with James John Cox (played by Lara Stubbs), a Journeyman Hatter, fixing his newly cut hair.
The play is immediately humorous especially with the introduction of Mrs Bouncer (played by Paul Ryan).
Whenever this character was on the stage, the audience was howling with laughter. Her continuous singing of ‘Grab a Pan’ was catchy, humorous and brilliant to watch.
With the use of internal monologues by each character, the audience learnt that Mrs Bouncer was renting out the flat to both Mr Cox and Mr Box (played by Charlotte Harwood) without each character knowing.
As the play progresses, the two men discover that they have been sharing the apartment and begin a competition to see who is better.
It is then revealed that Mr Box faked his suicide to avoid marrying Penelope-Ann, who turns out to be Mr Cox’ fiancée, whom he does not want to marry.
The two men argue who should be the one to marry Penelope-Ann, both with the intention not to.
This was extremely humorous and everyone in the audience was crying with laughter.
When the two men find out that their respective fiancée is now engaged to another man, they celebrate with a hand shake and it is then revealed that the two men are long lost brothers.
The brilliance of the music and the singing was absolutely outstanding to watch. Each actor had the perfect tone and complemented each other.
From the very beginning, you will be howling with laughter, predominately due to the over exaggerated acting from all the characters.
The play then jumps forward 150 years into the future, where the same apartment room is being rented out by two Polish immigrants, with a racist ‘UZIP’ party member landlord, Bob Narks.
The first thing that grabbed my attention during this modern take was the picture of Mrs Bouncer on the wall.
This allowed this modern take to be directly linked to the original play and was a creative way of linking both plays.
As the second half progressed, Harwood and Stubbs showed just how amazing these two actors are by speaking the Polish language.
With the continuing of the musical theme, and the occasionally interruption by the Musical Director Richard Atkinson, the actors performed amusing songs including Yorkshire is a Beautiful Place.
As the play continued, the racist landlord discovers the two immigrants and calls the Immigration Police.
As they begin to pack their belongings, they remove the image of Mrs Bouncer only for Bob Narks to have the same photograph himself.
As the play comes to an end, it is revealed that the Polish sisters and Bob Narks are related as the ghost of Mrs Bouncer comes back and reveals the truth.
This, once again, linked the new adaptation to the original play, and a fantastic twist in the story.
Box & Cox: Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy was arguably one of the funniest plays and deserves as much recognition as possible.
The talented team of Harwood, Ryan and Stubbs show how well they work together in this extremely amusing production.
With the collaboration team of Chris Monks and Musical Director Richard Atkinson, this modern interpretation will have no doubt have the entire audience crying with laughter.