Last of the Red Hot Lovers - performed March 1986

By Neil Simon

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Dennis Murfitt


(in order of appearance)

Barney Cashman David Turrell
Elaine Navazio Val Taylor
Bobbi Michele Sarah Haynes
Jeanette Fisher Pat Hargreaves

Production Team

Val Taylor, Viv Wheatley, Judi Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Dennis Murfitt, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Greg Garrod, Trevor Amos, Geoffrey Taylor, Kevin Brown, Gill BAxter, Pamela Talbot-Ashby.

The Play

Barney Cashman at the age of 47 wants to join the sexual revolution before it's too late, but Barney Cashman is a gentle sober soul with a true blue wife of 23 years and absolutely no experience in adultery, so he fails in each of three seductions. First he tries a flaunting sexpot who likes cigarettes, whiskey and husbands other than her own. Barney is not properly set up for such compulsions, especially in his mother's apartment, so he flunks the course. But he's got a better idea; a kooky actress friend should be just the ticket. But she turns madder than a hatter. So that leaves his wife's best friend. But unfortunately the friend is a sternly driven moralist who sees sin round every bend. Obviously Barney was born to failure.


The every-improving Manifest Theatre Group turned in another accomplished performance with their production of Last of the Red Holt Lovers on Tuesday night. This comedy, by American playwright Neil Simon, was always amusing though never hilarious.
It revolved around Barney Cashman, a weak-willed 47-year-old fish restaurant owner desperate to experience an extra-marital affair. He invites a succession of three women to share an afternoon with him in his motherís New York apartment. The first woman is a brash loud-mouthed, the second is a pot-smoking hippy. His third attempt to spice-up his boring life involves his friendís wife who turns out to be a depressed melancholic who enjoys only 8.2 per cent of her life.

The Manningtree Group has settled well into its new home and the set for this play was the best designed yet for their small stage. David Turrell as Barney held the cast together well, maintaining a lively pace around the workable script.
The best lines did not get wasted and the comic timing needed to make a play such as this work was also in evidence. With a dramatic and clever ending in which, Barney despite his dismal failures, turns around and proves there is good in everyone, was subtle and well-performed.

BARNEY Cashman, 47, has led a blameless existence save for one pre-marital experience, and yearns for one brief moment of passion to relieve his uneventful life. In the first and best episode, he invites the hard-bitten Elaine Navazio to initiate proceedings, but such is his faint-heartedness in coming to the obvious point that her shop-soiled eagerness is constantly frustrated.

Val Taylor, spraying flip wise-cracks like staccato machine-gun bullets, is brilliant in this sequence Ė with a raunchy sex-appeal overlaying warm humanity.
Next came a young pot smoking singer so intent on telling her technicolour life history that all his intentions are defeated. Sarah Haynes rattles through this session with a deliberate monotony of voice to add to his discomfiture.
Finally the nervous wife of a friend is so obsessed with her melancholia that he resorts to calling up his own wife, only be be disappointed there also. Pat Hargreaves, creates a telling character as Jeanette Fisher, but the overwhelming success of the evening is David Turrell in the central role. Looking and sounding like a podgy Jack Lemmon, and increasingly laid-back in costume and preparations for the seduction stakes, the playing is pure vintage Simon.
The biting wit and edged humour of this master of American comedy are strikingly brought out by director Dennis Murfitt.
Jimmy James

Photo Shoot

(Pat, Sarah, Dave, Val)