Visit London Blog » J.B Priestley Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 An Ideal Husband at The Vaudeville Theatre Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:30:05 +0000

The brilliant reviews for An Ideal Husband made me particularly excited to see the play. As the programme comments: Oscar Wilde‘s play is a “stylish critique of politicians and social morality”. I was immediately reminded of the J. B. Priestley play I saw a few weeks earlier, When we are Married. Both productions have a Victorian grandeur and an eloquent comedic buzz.

The action happens over 48 hours when a devastating political scandal about successful Government minister, Sir Robert Chilton is brought about by the conniving Mrs Cheveley. A secret from the distant past manages to turn all their lives upside down, with agonisingly hilarious consequences.

Elliot Cowan is absolutely delightful as the smug Viscount Goring. The play is a mixture of serious subject matter and farcical script and Cowan captures this combination beautifully. He strides about the stage with an air of calm charisma; he is clearly enjoying himself and that makes him very likeable. Rachael Stirling is powerful as the “ideal wife” Lady Chiltern, but I found her a tad irritating to watch after a while.  I was pleased to see Fiona Button as the chirpy Miss Mabel Chiltern, I previously saw her in TV series Lip Service and she interacts adorably with Cowan. Samantha Bond causes a stir as blackmailing Mrs Cheveley, known for her part in the Bond films, she is a familiar face to the audience. She occasionally stumbled over her words but was impressive and commands attention in her glorious gowns.

An Ideal Husband continues at The Vaudeville Theatre until 19 Feb 2011, book An Ideal Husband tickets here.

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When We Are Married at The Garrick Theatre Wed, 15 Dec 2010 15:44:58 +0000

The Helliwells, the Soppitts and the Parkers were all married on the same day in the same chapel. Twenty-five years on they meet up to celebrate their joint wedding anniversaries. Recreating the special moment is all going to plan until the local organist delivers some shocking news: the minister who conducted the service was not authorised to do so and consequently they are all single and carefree.

The thick red curtain lifts to reveal a stunning Victorian sitting room setting (courtesy of Simon Higlett). The audience gasped in admiration. The play, When We Are Married, is just over two hours long, but despite the length it feels slightly rushed towards the end, perhaps because the story is brought to an unsatisfactory, abrupt conclusion with little explanation.

The cast are strong and seem to enjoy frolicking about the Garrick stage to showcase J.B Priestley’s wit and farcical naughtiness. Maureen Lipman is particularly thrilling to watch as the uptight Clara Soppitt. Her character undergoes a mortifying change as her newly unmarried husband realises he is no longer obliged to accept her bullying. The other star is Roy Hudd as the hysterical drunken photographer Henry Ormonroyd. He dances and sings with bounding joy seemingly unaware of what is going on around him.

One last mention must go to Ruby Birtle who is a tour de force as the energetic maid Jodie McNee, she is absolutely hilarious to watch.

A most entertaining comedy – definitely worth going to see.

When We Are Married is on until 26 February. Book When We Are Married tickets here.

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