Overall, though, Magic Mobile is tickling, not waspish, with a high gag-to-smile ratio, and even the odd guffaw; Frayn’s winning way with a punchline made me instantly regret the smidgen of impatience that crept in whenever things threatened to get just a bit too wacky. Witness ‘Pharmachristenin’, in which drug company executives spitball new product names (‘Droopidickulin! Spottibottinol! Pixipoxipil!’), to the growing irritation of the chair, who snaps: ‘That’s it! Session suspended! And don’t come back, any of you, until you’ve taken your antisniggerin.’
Frayn is 86. He hasn’t written a play since Afterlifein 2008 or a novel since the farcical Skios in 2012. He has long declared himself more or less retired. So this, like his 2014 collection Matchbox Theatre, is a kind of genius frolic rather than a big work. It fits into his lifelong fascination with communication, technology, language and the human fools struggling to keep up with all of the above. The result is surely the first great toilet book of the decade: a collection of 35 sketches, none of them very long, most of them tremendously inventive and enjoyable.