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Who'd have thought that a play written over one hundred years ago would be so enjoyably funny? Think of TV's Jeeves and Wooster and you'll have its measure. Two young men about town, two eligible girls and a ferocious aunt are the key constituents. Mix in swapped identities, non-existent brothers and a lost baby and you get this masterpiece. After a low key start to set the scene this play quickly builds up pace and milks laugh after laugh from resulting confusions. Patricia Routledge as the imposing aunt is a tour de force. Resplendent in magnificent gowns and spiffy hats she commands the stage like a battle tank, her beady eye the barrel and hilarious crushing statements her ammunition. It is a talky play, the sets just sketching scenery, and would do well on the radio. But you wouldn't see Ms Routledges performance, see her move across the stage, legs hidden in the voluminous gowns, like some all conquering Dalek. She is definitely the star of the play, and I thought the male leads were rather weak. I saw the play the penultimate evening of its run at The Savoy theatre, so unfortunately it is too late for you to act on my recommendation for this particular performance. However the play has been performed for over 100 years and is likely to be performed again, so do remember the name and give it a go. And thats my earnest recommendation.
Comedy by Oscar Wilde. Directed by Christopher Morahan.