Posts Tagged ‘Mercurius’

A Chaste Maid In Cheapside, Rose Bankside 5 March

March 6, 2015


The box office still had a poster up advertising ‘A Trick To Catch The Old One’ from about a year ago, and this production inhabited the same kind of territory with music and costumes suggesting a generic 1950s. Unfortunately, rather too much had been removed from the original text for the remainder to be viable–one kept on waiting for Yellowhammer’s son Tim and the Welsh ‘heiress’ to appear, and large amounts of satire on contemporary mores were omitted, along with the corresponding characters.  Rather than fitting into a range of satirical types, Allwit the professionally complaisant husband was left like a frozen minor planet vainly orbiting a remote and faded star.

It was not clear–at least to me–that Moll Yellowhammer fell ill after being drenched in the Thames; it seemed more like a nervous collapse due to thwarted elopement, and the trick by which the lovers overcame the opposition of their elders went by so rapidly–like a telegraph pole going past a train–that we didn’t realise that the play was ended until the cast stood around sheepishly waiting for applause.

The acting had a lot of ‘get into position–pause–act’ and our Touchwood Senior did wave his hands about a great deal. That could have been an ironic reference to Freud’s remark about male gesticulation being associated with impotence, but I don’t think it was.

The promised 90 minutes’ running time turned out to be 75 minutes, but even so one observed a certain amount of surreptitious consulting of watches in the audience.

Better luck next time!

School for Wives, White Bear 07 March

March 8, 2013



Dress rehearsal picture from Mercurius site

The School for Wives has the typical old fool and young wife plot, except here he’s bought her at a very tender age and  brought her up to be stupid and innocent.  But of course young love triumphs.  Moliere even wrote it at about the time he married Armande Bejart, twenty years younger than himself, and it gave him his first big success.

This updating by Neil Bartlett frequently had a packed house helpless with laughter, and Tom Barratt as Arnold [formerly Arnolphe] used the proximity of the audience very effectively in some nearly-unhinged monologues.  The centre of interest here was certainly the discomfiture and even disintegration of  Arnold, rather than the young lovers’ troublesome path to a happy ending.

The adaptation was very good and rhymed a satisfying number of times, while the production (director Jenny Eastop) was clear and direct and made very good use of the White Bear space.  I enjoyed many incidental felicities, such as the servant Alan [Alain] becoming a truculent but mercenary Scotsman and the turn by Stephen Good at the beginning as a very upper-class Chrysalde [no change of name].  While the other servant Georgette got to keep her name, and a French maid’s outfit as well.  Also the jeune premier Jonathon Reid was very fetching in red trousers…

This blog urges you to go along to the White Bear and have a very good time at this show.