"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Festival Theatre in the Minerva
sheets shroud the château, autumn leaves enhance the sense of
Count [Jamie Glover], Tiger to his friends, and
arbiter of taste, knows
how to throw an elegant party, and he's set on staging an amateur
Marivaux - La Double Inconstance – to amuse his guests. Roped in
to this “worthless world of taffeta and treachery” are his
closest friend, his wife, his mistress, his wife's lover, his lawyer
and the young governess to the dozen assorted orphans who,
inexplicably, inhabit a distant wing.
witty but ultimately depressing piece dates from 1950. Chichester,
typically, excel at capturing the period feel, in a stylish
production directed by Jeremy
Sams, whose translation this is, and designed by William Dudley. The
painted scenery, and the undercurrents of mistrust and malevolence,
are gradually revealed as the Marivaux characters meld with the
modern-day actors. The
cigarette, the telephone brutally remind us that we're no longer in
the age of elegance.
superb cast – Niamh Cusack as the Countess, Katherine Kingsley as
Hortensia, Tiger's mistress, Gabrielle Dempsey as the mousy governess
And, in a compelling performance, Edward Bennett is outstanding as
Hero, the dypsomaniac, self-pitying
“likes breaking things” and
whose ultimately tragic melancholy overshadows the second act.His
two-handed scene with Lucile is masterly
witty, elegant period piece, full of civilized scheming and bitchery,
with potent subtexts and resonances.