Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Restoration Comedy’

Two new plays and one revival at the same time in London is quite something, even for the prolific Mike Bartlett. One of his great talents is his diversity of subject matter and form, and here he breathes new life into restoration comedy, with a bawdy satire which proves to be an absolute hoot. and about as up-to-date as its possible to get.

All the genre’s regular ingredients are here – social climbers, abandoned children, infidelity, mistaken identity, hypocrisy, asides to the audience – but in a world of influencers, tweeting, political scandal, reality TV, sex and drugs. In seeking to increase her profile, Lady Susan Climber recruits media consultant Hannah Tweetwell, who gets her invites to events like Sir Dennis’ philanthropic showcase for young entrepreneurs and possible chat shows with Rosalind Double-Budget. At the same time, her past is uncovered. Throw in an obsequious self-serving government minister with a right-wing journalist for a wife (unrecognisable, obviously) and it’s almost current affairs.

Rachael Sterling is terrific as Lady Susan, brazen and totally devoid of any moral core, and Richard Goulding is an absolute hoot as Matt Eton, Secretary of State for Procurement. The rest of the cast are more than a match, giving performances of great brio with shock and indignation to balance Lady Susan and Matt Eton, both totally unhampered by ethical considerations.

The design reflects the production values of the form in its heyday, with costumes bringing a contemporary sensibility. Director Rachel O’Riordan marshals her excellent cast with great pace and energy, squeezing every laugh (and there are many) from actions and expressions as well as dialogue.

A joy from start to finish, a real tonic.

Read Full Post »