THE STORY: Holding a top secret post in the Ministry of Defense, Commander Rimmington, of Her Majesty’s Navy, must watch appearances, and he is not always pleased by the carryings-on of his impulsive daughter, Nancy. Her latest escapade begins when her friend, ballerina Alicia Courtney, arrives breathlessly to announce that the great Russian dancer, Petrovyan, has decided to defect to the West—and that she has smuggled him out of London in the trunk of the Commander’s car. The first question is how to distract the Commander while Petrovyan is sneaked into the house, but then, after the Commander goes off fishing, the problems really begin to mount. An official appears with a coded message for the Commander and, in an attempt to get rid of him quickly, the Commander is impersonated by Nancy’s fiance, Gerry Buss. As they try to hide Petrovyan, the trumped-up stories and assumed identities mushroom hilariously, while agents from the Russian embassy lurk outside in the bushes, the local constable blunders in at the wrong time, the government official gets pleasantly tipsy, and Gerry suddenly finds himself face to face with the man he is impersonating. Then, miraculously, a chance for Petrovyan’s escape emerges out of the tumult. But after all the riotous confusion, including being stuck halfway out of the chimney, Petrovyan has had enough. Concluding that the English must be mad, he opts for the sanity of State control—so back to Moscow, leaving his would-be benefactors to straighten out the mayhem still churning in his wake.
Topical and perceptive, as well as outrageously funny, the play deals with a Russian ballet dancer who decides to defect to the West, and the wildly misguided efforts of his British friends in trying to provide sanctuary for him from the various authorities, British and Russian, who would prefer to see him on his way back to Moscow.
“Splendidly funny…agonies of helpless laughter.” —The Guardian (UK).
“A storm of laughter.” —Financial Times
“Family entertainment deluxe. A riotous time.” —Yorkshire Post.