The Critic – July 2010

6/10

By R B Sheridan

Directed by Jonathan Church and Sean Foley

Venue: Minerva Theatre

Date: Monday 5th July 2010

Second play of the double bill, this wasn’t quite as sparkly as I remembered from the National production, where the collapsing scenery at the end was massively impressive. To be fair, this is a smaller theatre and Health and Safety would probably be a bit squeamish about putting the audience at risk, but even so the theatrical effects were still pretty good. I liked the waves and ships, and the final falling wall providing a Buster Keaton moment was good fun. The costumes were spot on, literally in some cases, and the dialogue was pretty good, although Sheridan can be pretty impenetrable at times to the modern ear.

Again, I found Nicholas Le Provost’s delivery less clear than the others, but overall the performances were fine, with Una Stubbs again turning in a superb performance as the largely unspeaking maid.

© 2010 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

The Real Inspector Hound – July 2010

7/10

By Tom Stoppard

Directed by Jonathan Church and Sean Foley

Venue: Minerva Theatre

Date: Monday 5th July 2010

This was the first play of the double bill. Even though I knew the play, it took me a few moments to realise what was going on, as the Minerva’s seating has been rearranged to include seats at the back before. This time, I spotted Richard McCabe, and realised the seats at the back were for the cast.

When the second critic arrived, the lights had already gone down so he had to sneak on past the audience like a regular latecomer. The extra cast members sitting around the two critics were a plus this time – I think the two men sat in splendid isolation in the National production – although it did seem a little odd that they weren’t bothered by two men chatting away next to them.

The set was excellent for the stylised crime piece the critics are watching. A few pieces of furniture places around the central square created the drawing room, and across the corner nearest us was the sofa which concealed the dead body. Una Stubbs was marvellous as the charlady, the rest of the cast were also excellent at conveying the mannered delivery of the time/genre, and the only let down was Nicholas Le Provost’s delivery, which lost a lot of the dialogue as far as I was concerned.

© 2010 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me