Metro Theatre Company

You Say Tomatoes

by Bernard Slade

Venue: Metro Theatre
Dates: 3 November - 6 December, 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan




Director: Alison Tothill Set design :Dwayne Campbell Lighting design : Jeremy Mitchell Stage Manager: Natalia Tumbagahan





On a rain soaked day two American visitors accidentally on purpose find themselves in need of help. Their car has broken down near the isolated Sussex cottage of Giles St. James and Fred Craddock. Giles (Chris Cunningham) is an eccentric, reclusive misogynist writer and Fred (Derek Moore) his much more sociable stable mate. The American women are Libby Daniels, a not too successful New York film producer, and her friend and aide, Daisy Holiday (Alisen Hawknes). Libby has discovered that Giles is a famous author of mysteries and is trying to obtain the rights make one of Giles' mysteries into a smash hit movie and so elevate her reputation and her income.

Unfortunately for Libby, Giles hates all things American and any publicity. Even the local village does not know he is the well-known writer of the popular mystery novels. Outgoing Fred offers hospitality to the benighted pair, and much to Giles' displeasure offers them overnight accommodation until their car can be repaired. While Fred plays the genial host and prepares meals and comfort, Libby endeavours to work her charms on the divorced Giles. Surprisingly, she gradually succeeds in attracting some gleams of interest from him. The crash! Someone has informed the local paper of Giles pseudonym. The women are sent empty handed back to New York.

Two days later Giles and Fred arrive in New York, descending unannounced on the women's apartment. Where Libby complained of the cold English houses, Giles, in an appalling Harris Tweed jacket, complains of the indoor heat and the noise of neighbours and the city. 


Is there going to be reconciliation? Fred and Daisy have always been friends but the other two? With the promise of the film rights to his novel and acceptance from Libby's company, it looks as if the future for the four friends might be rosy, but where to live? Maybe some never-never land?

The two sets are delightful, well designed, cleverly constructed and decorated. There is no acknowledgement in the programme for the costume design, which is variably suitable or not for the characters. The sound and lighting are adequate.

So why is this excellent play by Bernard Slade not an immediate success? Perhaps it was first night jitters that prevented the action from being in sync with the pace of the play and perhaps the four actors were not completely happy with one another, as there was a lack of rapport between them. These difficulties will possibly be overcome as the run progresses.

You Say Tomatoes is a very funny, perceptive play, with plenty of biting wit and humour as the two somewhat dated transatlantic cultures are contrasted.

You Say Tomatoes runs at the Metro Theatre Centre, 1370 S.W. Marine Drive, Wednesday through Saturday at 8.00 p.m. November 6 - December 6, 2003. For further information, reservation and tickets call 604-266-7191 or visit

2003, Jane Penistan