Selina Cadell has created a challenging and intriguing production of this William Congreve restoration comedy.
It is a well-staged, designed and costumed play, but if it were not for just a couple of acting performances, the three hour running time could be something of an ordeal.
Two ladies come to the rescue with outstanding performances. Firstly, Susan Tracy as Lady Wishfort, who could be liked to a combination of Julie Walters’ Mrs Overall and Hyacinth Bucket, 18th century style. Without doubt a tireless performance from Tracy, full of wit, acidity, and almost farce-style humour.
Secondly, Niamh Cusack as Mrs Millamant, with the clarity of her voice, diction, and timing. As if we didn’t know it already, Cusack shows us what a class actress she is on the stage.
Miles Jupp is a delightfully foppish Petulant, Christopher Brand the country yokel Sir Wilful Witwoud, Robert Styles a slightly sinister Fainall and David Bark-Jones the ever present Mirabell.
Royal Theatre, Northampton, April 27-May 19
- Selina Cadell
- Royal and Derngate Production
- Cast includes
- Niamh Cusack, Susan Tracy, Lesley Vickerage
- Running time