Mates in Chelsea is a decidedly jaunty affair that follows the desperate attempts of Theodore ‘Tug’ Bungay to hold onto the last vestiges of a dwindled inheritance.

Very much in the spirit of British theatre icon Wilde, playwright Mullarkey pokes fun at the upper classes and their problems – in this case the impending sale of the family castle – but he does so with a measure of fondness.

The characterization of the aristocracy is unforgiving, yes, but much like their dramatic ancestors they’re harmless aren’t they, really?

Viscount Bungay’s bachelor pad in Chelsea is the scene of the first act, and as first acts go it’s smart, lively, and entertaining as a good farce should be – nothing to cry about, lots to laugh about. The housekeeper’s very literal introductions were a smooth mechanism to present Mullarkey’s oh-so satirical characters, themselves blessed with ridiculous nicknames that we the plebs will never understand.

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George Fouracres as Bungay’s good pal Charlton Thrupp is the comedic joy of the whole affair, his performance not unlike a drunken Oliver Reed performing Shakespeare. Just the mention of his “cultural consultant” in those exaggerated vowels and consonants had me in fits.

The second act was less satisfying, and much too long with plot move after plot move after plot move – it could do with some trimming. In narrative terms it all made perfect sense, each improbable and silly action the natural culmination of ground laid in the first half: but from the audience perspective it tires.

I love a fake Russian oligarch as much as the next girl, but when the gag is duplicated three times, I’m just treading water waiting for its natural conclusion.

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Natalie Dew’s character Finty made the funniest of said faux-Russians, her presentation crude, culturally insensitive, and carrying an accent of no real origin, some sort of Greek-Russian hybrid, or the butchered Italian from a television advert for tinned tomatoes.

A bold and detailed performance that livened up a too big and expansive second act. It all got a bit too cinematic and spectacle-seeking when the real magic was in the domestic minutiae of the earlier scenes.

Laurie Kynaston pulled off the entitled, shallow protagonist to a tee, proving him entirely undeserving of our sympathy. Ultimately, no tears were shed for poor ‘old Tuggy’ when he finally got his comeuppance.

Mates in Chelsea plays at the Royal Court Theatre from Friday, November 3 to Saturday, December 16.