The Importance of Being Earnest – Vaudeville Theatre – Review

1 Comment

eventImage_289I’m becoming a bit of a Vaudeville Theatre “groupie” – this is my third visit there this year! This time to see Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

This classic piece of theatre is revived again in the West End, this time with the twist of David Suchet playing Lady Bracknell. He makes the role his own, with looks and intonation that bring plenty of laughs from the audience. The infamous “a handbag?” scene he gives a refreshing difference to. He avoids veering off into pantomime dame thankfully.
Importance-Of-Being-Earnest-Vaudeville-325-700x455
Oscar Wilde’s humour and observations are as witty as ever, he always takes things to extremities with his own views on marriage and society shining through. The cast have got their comic timing just right and it flows effortlessly.

Philip Cumbus as Algernon Mocrieff is the “bumbering” and enthusiastic central character, he puts on a great show, eliciting some brilliant laugh out loud moments, especially in the muffin eating scene in Act 2. His foil is John Worthing played by Michael Benz. These two interact perfectly and feed of each others energy and performances wonderfully.
rsz_imogen_doel_as_cecily_and_philip_cumbus_as_algernon_in_the_importance_of_being_earnest
For me though the stand out performance was Imogen Doel as the lovestruck Cecily. On occasions I think her performances eclipsed David Suchet. She certainly got the biggest laughs and her flirty and rambunctious characterisation was sublime to watch. I hope we see more of her on the West End stage after this.

Michelle Dotrice’s vast experience as a comedy actress shows as Miss Prism, her physical comedy and comic timing never miss a beat. Whilst her role isn’t very large she gets the most from it and is wonderful to watch.

Importance-Of-Being-Earnest-Vaudeville-427
Adrian Noble’s direction keeps everything moving at swift pace and the action is wonderfully enacted in Peter McKintosh’s set and costumes, keeping it in the stuffy Victorian era.

It is a fairly superficial night out at the theatre, perhaps a bit of a “guilty pleasure”.  If you fancy a theatre trip which will purely entertain you, leave you smiling and witness a fine comic cast then grab a ticket for this.

STARS : ★ ★ ★ ★

Advertisements

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde – Miller Centre Theatre Company, Miller Centre Theatre – Review

Leave a comment

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 as the "Ideal" Husband Sir Robert Chiltern and Tonia Porter as the conniving Mrs Cheveley

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.

The charming Lucy Baker as Mabel Chiltern

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.

A stage with TWO Danniel Horton's, can you have too much of a good thing??

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.

 

Dublin Writers Museum – A Literary Legacy

2 Comments

On my recent visit to Dublin, I took the opportunity to not only visit the Abbey Theatre, but also to visit The Dublin Writer’s Museum. The  City can boast a tremendous amount of talent, and writers of historical and literary importance. From a theatrical point of view it is the home/birthplace of several theatrical luminaries.

One of several George Bernard Shaw portraits.

I was pleased that so much of the museum was dedicated to the playwrights that have come from this city and their works. I also found it an educational experience as fresh writers were brought to my attention.

I especially liked the displays on George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett (including his phone that had a big red button on it, that he pushed when he didn’t want to be disturbed) and Oscar Wilde.

First Edition of Waiting for Godot!

My only disappointment was with the bookshop. As a dedicated bibliophile I was hoping the bookshop would have shelves and shelves of the literary delights I’d just read about and seen in the museum. Alas, I found it a real let down, and I can’t understand why the space isn’t used more fully and why it doesn’t carry a fuller stock? Aside from that if you’re interested in Irish playwrights, I recommend a visit to the museum, I found it a suitable conclusion to my Irish playwriting studies.