Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield
Director Sean Foley deftly brings Veberís classic French farce to the stage. Starring Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon, The Painkiller is the fourth play in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Companyís six-play residency at the Garrick.

The play opens in two adjacent hotel rooms with an inter-connecting door. A high profile trial is unfolding and the streets below are packed with rowdy onlookers. Photographer Brian Dudley, played by Welsh comedian Rob Brydon, arrives in his hotel room desolate and pining for his ex-wife. He has been sent by the local paper in Swindon to join three hundred other photographers jostling for prime position to get visual documentation of the trial. But alone in his hotel room his mind is set on suicide.

As Dudley settles into despair his next-door neighbour arrives clad in a designer suit and carrying a machine gun. Ralph (Kenneth Branagh) is a hitman paid to take out the gangster on trial from his window, which has the best view of the throng below.

But against his better judgment Ralph is forced to babysit his suicidal neighbour. The result is high jinx comedy played with aplomb by Branagh and Brydon. Fraught scenes result when Dudley confronts his wife (Claudie Blakley) and her psychiatrist partner (Alex Macqueen). Identities are confused and Ralph is accidentally injected with horse tranquilizer. Clothes come off and Rob Brydonís briefest of briefs are on display for quite some time.

Itís terrific to see Shakespearean actor Branagh once again playing a comedic role. He does excel at it. The Painkiller is an enormously entertaining play.

You Might Also Like


Cinderella gets a makeover

If you are only going to see one film this weekend make it Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella.

On March 26, 2015


The Australian Ballet - Vanguard

The Australian Balletís Vanguard features a triple bill; The Four Temperaments, Bella Figura and Dyad 1929.

On May 7, 2013


STOMP at the Theatre Royal

By Rebecca McRitchie

On September 11, 2013


Steve Danielsen prepares to dazzle Melbourne

If you saw Legally Blonde you will remember Kyle the UPS guy. Steve Danielsen was the understudy for this unforgettable role. It is this performance that led to his...

On May 5, 2014


J.K. Rowling shocked by online reaction to black Hermione

J.K. Rowling has responded to criticism at the casting of Olivier award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni.

On June 6, 2016


Debora Krizak on the best things in life

Debora Krizak launched into professional musical theatre in 2004 after being offered a role in Mel Brooksí The Producers where she also understudied the role of Swedish secretary, Ulla. From...

On August 21, 2015
Copyright © 2012 - 2018 Culture Street