Derek Benfield was a master at writing farces. Webster’s New Universal Dictionary defines the word “farce” as “a light humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character.” In ANYONE FOR BREAKFAST? the characters differ enough to make them interesting, but the plot takes precedence over character so there is little time to go into them in depth. The play moves along at a fast pace and is similar to a rollercoaster ride. It should be enjoyed for what it is: two hours of fun in the theatre.
As is customary in domestic farces, there is a great deal of marital infidelity and deception going on in ANYONE FOR BREAKFAST? It is, therefore, important to keep track of the relationships in order to have a good understanding of the play. Gilbert (who is having an affair with Helga) is married to Shirley (who is having an affair with Roger). Roger is married to Jane who wants to have an affair with Mark, but does not succeed. Even Mark, at first innocent of all deceitful behaviour, gets trapped in the confusion and ends up being dishonest himself. Helga, whose conduct may be considered immoral, is nevertheless the only one who remains honest to the end. One cannot help but think of Sir Walter Scott’s famous words: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”