Aristo-Cack

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336

Sheridan is funny. He has an exceptional ear for rhythm, he is master of the situation and has the ability to fool the audience into thinking they are going one way and suddenly take them in a different direction altogether. This production does not exploit all the available nuances: Sir Peter’s blusterings, while impressive for their length, have little spirit, emotion or backbone to them, and Rob Marshall’s portrayal of Sir Peter Teazle certainly has the monopoly on aristocratic plumminess. During his domestic row, emotionally he stays on the same plateau throughout the scene: variety is out the window. This isn’t helped a great deal by the characterisation of Lady Teazle (Alexa Maddison): rather than manipulative coquettishness we get a slightly nervous adolescent. This is not an unnerving portrait of a poorly motivated marriage dressed in laughter, but an echo of a lover’s tiff dressed in pomposity. All in all, for a play with great potential for wit, verve and an acerbic critique of human interaction laced with cynicism, the production in Worcester College Gardens falls sadly short of the mark. However, Sheridan’s wit transcends the inadequacies of this performance, and the stunning setting guarantees an enjoyable evening.
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003

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