WRITER Torben Betts says in the programme notes for Caroline's Kitchen "I am trying to look at the state of the nation by means of getting under the skin of various people."

It doesn't actually convey that admirable intent.

It is, at the end of two fraught hours, a middle-class farce.

Happily, no slamming doors, vicars or hooray Henrys shouting "has anyone seen my trousers?" while hiding in a wardrobe.

I was hoping for a darker, funnier piece of work.

I feel this Original Theatre Company's touring production, directed by Alastair Whatley, is not best suited to the Everyman's mould-breaking tradition.

It would be a more at home at the Playhouse.

This new updated version of this 'one continuous scene play' is interrupted only by the interval.

It certainly puts all of its moral eggs in one basket and the dialogue appears disjointed and, at times, dated.

The premise is at first a tasty one.

Celebrity TV chef Caroline Mortimer (Caroline Langrishe) leads a charmed life.

She has all the trappings of success at her plush North London home and also in her work until a newspaper is ready to use paparazzi photos of her falling over after one too many glasses of fizz.

Her kitchen is where she thinks (and drinks) hard.

Put into a metaphorical blender alongside her, the following characters spice up the action: Mike her boorish golf addict hubby with a mid-life crisis; son Leo a self-centred, whining gay graduate; Amanda the petulant PA with a foul mouth; two-timing handy man Graeme and his neurotic wife Sally.

I found myself allergic to this pack of nuts.

The cast work hard and Aden Gillet gives the strongest performance as Mike, but even his rasping rants over-stay their welcome.

On a mid-summer madness night to a backdrop of thunder and rain we see relationships crumble and everyone get their just desserts.

A frenetic finale leads to a Fawlty Towers-esque conclusion without the clever Cleese humour.

This is a microwaved Alan Ayckbourn styled-comedy drama that doesn't quite cut the mustard.

Overcooked - three stars

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