Oscar Wilde’s classic play of political intrigue, manipulation and scandal in Victorian society comes to Caterham from now until the 25th February. I’ve been a great admirer of Wilde’s wit and writing but have never actually seen a play of his before, so it was a delight last night to be whisked back in time to see this play. This feeling of being taken back in time was in no small part due to Keith Orton’s wonderful set design and the perfect period costumes.
David Sanders gave a convincing portrayal as Sir Robert Chiltern, the apparently spotless politician whose one misdeed from his youth comes back to haunt him. Thanks to Mrs Cheveley played with just the right “bitchyness” by Tonia Porter. What a nasty piece of work! (Mrs Cheveley not Tonia!)
Sir Robert Chiltern’s wife, Lady Chiltern is the whiter than white idealist played with a great sense of gravity by Rachael Poulloin. It would be easy with this role to become a bit patronising and holier than thou. Rachel gave it a tenderness that made you sympathise with Lady Chiltern as she realises the man she has thought her Ideal might have feet of clay.
Along with the blackmail storyline is the love story of Mabel Chiltern and Lord Goring. Lucy Baker portrayed the ditzy and playful Mabel with a great sense of fun that was infectious. The star of the show is without doubt Lord Goring, in many ways a character that is Oscar Wilde himself. This role was played with relish by Danniel Horton. Who got great laughs with his witty quips and observations.
Peter Damesick as director has molded and guided his talented cast to bring this wonderful play to life. I was struck by how contemporary the themes of corrupt politicians, blackmail and scandal are. The joy of Wilde’s wit is timeless too. I do feel that the final few lines are a bit clichéd and perhaps a bit of their time, but I’m about to summarise my review with a cliché so I’ll let Wilde off. My cliché? “This production of an Ideal Husband is an Ideal Night Out!”
DISCLAIMER: As regular readers of my blog know, I’m actively involved in the Miller Centre Theatre Company and I know a good number in this cast. HOWEVER my review is as impartial as I can honestly make it. All photos are with thanks from Avril Jones Photography.