The Importance of Being Earnest – Vaudeville Theatre – Review

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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 : ★ ★ ★ ★

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – The Savoy Theatre

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This show about 2 conmen has been causing a buzz in the West End since it opened a few weeks back. Mainly due to its stars Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound.

They are clearly having a ball on stage, but this is no self indulgent show, rather with a nod to audience early on they welcome us into their world.

The cast give us 100 percent and attack all the big numbers with flare. Katherine Kingsley ratchets up the end of Act 1 with her stunning vocal performance as Christine Colgate.

Katherine Kingsley's performance stole the show for me.

Katherine Kingsley’s performance stole the show for me.

It has many laugh out loud moments. Spolied only by the uneccesary crude and vulgar humour inserted along the way (Act 2 especially goes for cheap laughs too often I felt). The quite literal slapstick routine in Act 2 is one of the comedy highlights for me we all winced as Rufus Hound is repeatedly hit.

You'll struggle to see a more effortless stage performance as Robert Lindsay gives.

You’ll struggle to see a more effortless stage performance than the one Robert Lindsay gives.

Robert Lindsay is laid back and guides the show effortlessly. Rufus Hound is a wonderful foil and the byplay between them is perfect. It’ll be interesting to see if the show has much of a life without them.

One of the stars of the show is Peter Mckintosh’s splendid set, that adds a whole extra dimension to the piece.

I saw this on a Wednesday night and it was a perfect mid-week pick-me-up.

STARS :  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Thanks to http://www.laughingbuddhauk.com/ for the tickets!

Olivier Awards 2012

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This years awards were another glittering event promoting all that is good about London theatre. The event is growing and growing and well done to SOLT for raising the profile of this event even more than it did last year. The Royal Opera House was a suitably grand venue, hosted amiably by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.

I was pleased to see the following as winners:

  • Sheridan Smith wins for a second year in a row, this time for Flare Path.
  • Crazy for You’s  Peter McKintosh got the award for Best Costume design deservedly.
  • Matthew Warchus winning Best Director for Matilda.
  • Dame Monica Mason getting the SOLT Special Award for her 54 years of work with the Royal Ballet.
  • Nigel Harman I think deserves his just for the fact he performs his role on his knees in Shrek.
  • Derren Brown winning his for Svengali which is returning to London in June.
  • Crazy for You I was chuffed to see won Best Musical Revival.
  • Collaborators was a pleasant surprise for Best Play (I’m off to see that later in the year)
  • Seeing Tim Rice’s contribution recognised with a Special Award was also good to see.

Tonight however was Matilda’s night winning a staggering seven of the awards.

Only thing that spoiled the event for me was Ronan Keating and Kimberley Walsh butchering ALW’s “No Matter What”, as one person commented on Twitter, Laurence Olivier was revolving in his grave at that point.

I loved the chance to see the cast for numerous shows performing their numbers and the Lion King finale was a fitting end to the night. A great evening and a splendid advertisement to the world of what the West End offers.