CHESTERFIELD: Royal Flush pulls off a chain of laughs

The play was called Royal Flush.

A poker game? An embarrassing moment for Her Majesty?

Neither of the above. This was a play about toilets.

Specifically, about the inventor of the modern flush toilet, the evocatively named Thomas Crapper. It was at the Pomegranate on Thursday, October 24, in the capable though solitary hands of Matthew Booth.

The first half took the form of a letter the adult Crapper was composing to Susannah, his first adolescent love, on the eve of a visit to the Prince of Wales at Sandringham, where he was commissioned to install bathrooms complete with the new-fangled flush lavatories he was pioneering: the climax of a vocation which began with a teenage crush on Susannah under a cedar tree.

Friends, family, employees and customers who had passed through his long career came to life through the actor’s voice and gestures.

After the interval, the action cut to 2012 and a care home near Doncaster, expecting a visit from the Queen in Diamond Jubilee year. Matthew Booth’s second character of the evening was Joe, maintenance engineer with a special interest in toilets ever since his arch-rival Cockney John collected a unique souvenir of a visit from Princess Anne.

‘Guests’ and staff of the home made up the cast voiced as Joe plotted his capping of John’s triumph, abetted by an elderly resident with a wicked sense of humour.

The result was an unexpectedly entertaining evening, with plenty of laughs. Huge credit to Matthew Booth, who ran a theatrical marathon.

LYNNE PATRICK