There's a great cautionary tale for people wishing to sell their home in this witheringly funny attack on the cult of interior design from Johnny Vegas, Stewart Lee and Rob Thirtle. Never, ever show prospective buyers the post-castration scene from arthouse film Farinelli il Castrato. It will put them off.
Vegas stars as Jeffrey Parkin, an overbearing design obsessive, showing buyers around his home, a turn-of-last-century semi with original features and sympathetic updates. While the play's comic starting point is built upon as Jeffrey bumptiously details his "improvements" and design for living - including a bespoke pan rack based on sketches of the Humber Bridge - the tone shifts to reveal the emotional cracks hidden beneath his tasteful exterior. The message is, it's not home interiors that matter, it's human interiors.David Crawford, Radio Times, 15th March 2012
This Afternoon Play had Johnny Vegas stamped all over it, the way he goes full throttle, his voice coming in stops and starts as if being squeezed from a near empty toothpaste tube, and then there is the dip as he comes to the darkness and futility that is often his pay-off line.
Interiors was a satirical and unexpectedly touching drama about property-owning during a financial slump and how homes can reflect broken lives.
Vegas, along with Stewart Lee and Rob Thirtle, is credited with having written the original play on which this production, directed by Dirk Maggs, was based, implying alterations to the original. As Vegas clearly enjoys and understands radio drama acting, with a track record stretching from The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists to Shedtown (whose first series is now being repeated), these tweaks to the script will have been more sensitive than those carried out by his character, Jeffrey Parkin, to the home he wants to sell.
Parkin does the en-masse viewing himself, full of empty bombast, playing to the gallery, which, if he had one, would be half-finished like everything else in the house. He issues a spluttering critique of TV property shows, a wheezy indictment of his erstwhile wife's taste in flat-packed furniture. Then, the vanity of the home-owner, once mired in the certainties of his own taste, crumples. Standing in his botched house of smashed dreams, he admits that he has wasted his energy on things that don't matter.
While this was mostly a one man tour-de-force, a cast of six actors played the viewers, a whispering, embarrassed Greek chorus, who were given few lines but whose presence is palpable.Moira Petty, The Stage, 13th March 2012