Murd Woddling #theatre #review

A few years ago we saw a James Cordon vehicle at the National – One Man, Two Guv’nors – which was a modern take on a Commedia dell’arte masterpiece by Goldoni. I say masterpiece with a little hesitation as the very structured nature of such comedies can make them clunky to modern audiences: viz me. And the breaking – actually the complete demolition – of the fourth wall can have a destabilising affect on the flow which was the case with Cordon.

All that said there were many laugh out loud moments, too and I have to admit to enjoying it overall.

Last night the same author – adaptor – Richard Bean took Sheridan’s the Rivals and rebooted it from the Regency period to the Battle of Britain in 1940 in

Jack Absolute Flies Again

Bean used some of the original dialogue though he put the words into the mouth of a female lead which felt… naff. That meant the play had an uneven and clunky start.

That said one of Sheridan’s enduring creations is Mrs Malaprop, giving her name to malapropisms. She is comedy gold and she didn’t disappoint. Equally Sir Anthony Absolute, something of an ennobled tartar in the original is an excellent curmudgeonly Field Marshall here. His scenes with Mrs Malaprop were highlights.

‘Last time I saw you was at your husband’s funeral.’

‘Yes, I think everyone remembers your touching urology.’

It tries to make a virtue of undermining the conventions of the original too and largely succeeds. Then the maid was merely a stooge, a carrier of billet doux between the main protagonists. Here, the maid acts as a kind of narrator, as well as playing a major role.

There’s a terrific scene when the cast indulge in a jitterbug, there’s an unexpectedly surprising ending for a comedy.

And there’s Mrs Malaprop besmattering the stage with her hilarious, if a touch scatalogical mistakes.

‘He will go down in the anals of history…’

Should you go?

If you snigger at smut, yes. If you like your theatre compelling and thought provoking, wait for David Hare to eviscerate another part of the establishment.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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18 Responses to Murd Woddling #theatre #review

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Very interesting Geoff💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    I would love, love to see this! Sheridan’s The Rivals is my favorite Restoration play.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing, Geoff. Great comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JT Twissel says:

    As a big fan of silly – I’m sure I’d rolling on the floor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennie says:

    This looks to be great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Widdershins says:

    What a fabulous set … shame there wasn’t more of an audience. Comedy needs a full house, I reckon. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KL Caley says:

    Ooh this sounds fun. I am due to go see Boeing Boeing this week which is supposed to be funny with a pinch of farce too, I’m looking forward to it. 🙂 KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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