Michael Frayn's latest novel Skios is a side-splitting comic delight, which takes in almost every sub-genre from drop-your-pants farce and slapstick to verbal jokes and a satire of intellectual poseurs. Published last year, the book was criticised for over-reliance on farce at the expense of characterisation, but this adaptation, by Archie Scottney, provides more balance to the competing elements.
Hugh Bonneville plays scientist Dr Norman Wilfred with only a little of the weary grandiloquence the actor cultivated on Downton Abbey. Wilfred arrives on a Greek island to give a speech to a cultural foundation, but his place has been assumed fraudulently by Oliver Fox, played with blase charm by Tom Hollander.
Thwarted seductions alternate with Fox's pseudo-philosophical assertions, lapped up by an adoring coterie that dare not declare that the emperor - like several of the cast - isn't wearing any clothes.
Jon Glover brings the house down with his rendition of Spiros and Stavros, two manic cabbies whose question as to the identity of their passenger - "Fox Oliver?" - is taken for a talismanic local phrase. The question of identity and mis-identity is at the heart of the piece, although I couldn't help wondering why someone doesn't whip out their smartphone and unmask the interloper.Moira Petty, The Stage, 21st January 2013
Hugh Bonneville plays Dr Norman Wilfred, eagerly awaited lecturer at an annual scientific meeting on the Greek island of Skios. But someone else turns up, passing as Dr Wilfred. This charming chancer is Oliver Fox (Tom Hollander). Meanwhile, Dr Wilfred is stuck in a remote villa with Georgie (Janie Dee), who has been sweet-talked by Oliver into spending the weekend with him, and no luggage. The script is by Archie Scottney, from the novel by Michael Frayn, the cast (which also includes Stacy Keach and Joanne Whalley) is as grand as you'd expect from those independents Jarvis & Ayres.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 12th January 2013