An Ideal Husband – Oscar Wilde

    Wilde’s famous script brings together a topical tale of political corruption of ignorant youth and blackmail between parties. Lord Robert Chiltern is the designated target of Mrs. Cheveley, who deals him a cruel hand of blackmail with deliciously devilish ambition.

     

    The play opens with a scene shared between two unlikeable ladies in complaint about their husbands. Although the humour is obvious it is not unpleasant and settles the audience in. Unfortunately the humour cannot carry what becomes an entire act of conversation between two participants.

     

    The dialogue is delivered with assurance and elegance but the details are plain and it becomes what feels like a long tennis match between two characters that only serve to lay down detail after detail. Although it is a necessary approach

    to ensure we know the characters and the ties between them it can become tiresome and I found my mind wandering at parts.

     

    Thankfully, the second act sparkled in the dim light of the first act. Lord Robert Chilterns closest confidant Lord Goring, carries the play with a brilliant energetic and thoroughly entertaining performance. He breaks from the formality that other characters are immersed in and times his wit and reactions with perfection to master Wilde’s private and public humour.

     

    Miss Mabel Chiltern, the younger sister to the marked man, Lord Robert Chiltern is an excellent comedic accompaniment to Lord Goring. Mabel’s vibrancy of youth and sarcastic one-liners created a faster change of pace between scenes which was missing in the first act. The audience are witnesses to the obvious confusions which continue to cross and ultimately unravel in the final few scenes and ultimately the end is a happy one.

     

    An Ideal Husband is now showing at the Vaudeville Theatre.

     

    http://www.anidealhusbandwestend.com/index.php?pg=1169

     

    Ends 26th February

     

    Review by Ella Pocock

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