"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
FOR SERVICES RENDERED
Festival Theatre at the Minerva
audience walks through onto the parquet, and into another world. A
stylish family home in the Kent countryside. Through the panoramic
bay window, we glimpse barbed wire amongst the ripening Ravilious
Dudley's superb set design is the arena for family tragedy, as the
Great War, long over, pours its corrosive legacy over Simon
Chandler's cold, self-centred patriarch, his wife and his four
of Somerset Maugham's greatest plays, it has not aged well. This is
Priestley country, chickens coming home to roost, dark secrets and
hidden desires. And the heavy irony at the close could have been
Howard Davies and his wonderful cast make it seem a masterpiece. The
text is fleshed out with a look, a pause, an inflection. The distant
sound of the road, the railway and an aeroplane underline the
remoteness of this backwater.
good performances all round, especially from Stella
Gonet as the mother, ready to leave the “rowdy” post-war party,
from Yolanda Kettle as the youngest daughter, escaping by allowing
herself to be seduced by the tweedy mature charms of Anthony Calf's
Wilfred, and from
Mitchell as the tragic Eva, desperate to rescue Nick Fletcher's war
hero, reduced to penury as his petrol station fails.
perfect production of a timely anti-war piece, moving even in its
most melodramatic moments.
photograph of Yolanda Kettle by Richard Hubert Smith