THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST – West End

In London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

The heart sinks beforehand: Oscar Wilde’s sunny comedy melodrama is too familiar: skipping from one well-worn epigram to the next, from handbag to muffin, butler to Bracknell until a theatregoing audience can be tempted to join in. Directors have tried every resuscitation technique – play-within-a-play, high-speed cutting, star casting, unexpected crooked sets – with no guarantee that it’ll work. But this time, Adrian Noble and his cast pull it off, and the old dear comes up fresh as a daisy, in sets of such traditionally gorgeous Edwardiana that they get their own round of applause, and without any gimmicks at all. Unless you count casting David Suchet as Lady Bracknell: and that is not a gimmick, but a welcome extension of the great man’s ability to rule a stage with one twitch of his black, black brows.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST – West End

In London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

No one wants to piss on Poirot’s chips, but this really isn’t very good.

David Suchet is a superb actor. Like Angela Lansbury if you set aside his television detective work he still has an impressive pedigree even if West End appearances have been rare. But no director casting a well-funded revival of The Importance of Being Earnest would think of Suchet for Lady Bracknell any sooner than they’d ask Lansbury to play King Lear, and there is a whiff of vanity project about the enterprise.

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Review: The West End Men (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Musicals, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

It’s always a joy when a production bounds from a creative wellspring of inventiveness and originality and is then crowned with musical performances of great technical merit and imaginative interpretation. This is not one such evening. The formula is dispiritingly familiar: strip the songs from the musicals for which they were written and line up […]

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Review: What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

It’s tantalizing to wonder what might have happened to Joe Orton had he not succumbed at 34 to the hammer blows of his jealous lover Kenneth Halliwell in their shared bedsit in Islington. Between 1964 and 67 Orton produced three of the most remarkable (and still frequently revived) comedies on the London stage: Loot, Entertaining […]

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Review: What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

It’s tantalizing to wonder what might have happened to Joe Orton had he not succumbed at 34 to the hammer blows of his jealous lover Kenneth Halliwell in their shared bedsit in Islington. Between 1964 and 67 Orton produced three of the most remarkable (and still frequently revived) comedies on the London stage: Loot, Entertaining […]

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Review: Master Class (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

Hard on the round heels of her Cagney and Lacey co-star Sharon Gless impersonating a woman you almost certainly won’t have heard of, comes Tyne Daly in the stage personification of someone you couldn’t possibly have escaped hearing about unless you’d slept through the 20th century, its most famous operatic diva Maria Callas. It’s also […]

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Review: Private Lives (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

Can she or can’t she? Most of the first-night audience were secretly betting Kim Cattrall wouldn’t be able to shake off the shadow of ‘Samantha Jones’ from ‘Sex and the City’ and turn herself into Noel Coward’s wittiest and most romantic heroine. In assailing the best-constructed comedy in the English Language as well as the […]

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Review: Megan Mullally (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

You could be forgiven for thinking that a sitcom actress who pockets thirteen million dollars a season for Will and Grace might indulge herself with any kind of vanity project including hiring a band and the Vaudeville Theatre for a debut week in the West End. But this isn’t a vanity, Mullally has worked with […]

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Review: Alan Cumming – I Bought A Blue Car Today (Vaudeville Theatre)

In Musicals, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

Alan Cumming told ‘Hello’ magazine his new show was ‘me with a band singing some songs I like, and telling stories about what’s happened to me in the ten years since I moved to America’. That this is truthfully the middle and both ends of it disguises the fact that it’s a beguiling evening in […]

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