The City Madam – September 2011

8/10

By: Philip Massinger

Directed by: Dominic Hill

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Friday 30th September 2011

I can’t honestly say if this production has come on as much as some of the others, although I’m sure the cast are more experienced now; the main reason for our increased enjoyment was that we knew who the characters were and what was going on much better the second time around. As I suspected from our previous visit, familiarity helped a lot.

We were able to follow the plot much better, and although I still found the dialogue hard to follow at times, I caught much more of what was going on this time. The way Luke incites the apprentices to steal from his brother, for example, came across much more clearly. I realised that the suitors aren’t supposed dead when their statues are brought on, they’re meant to be travelling for three years, together. The way young Lacy accepted Plenty’s proffered hand of friendship before they set off together was very funny. Lacy is very effete, while Plenty is a rich landowner who’s used to working his own land – the bluff Yorkshireman type.

The different seats also helped, as I found my view was rarely blocked. In fact, we were very close to Lord Lacy when he came over and sat beside two ladies in the row behind us, nudging them over so he could sit down. His whispered asides to them were clearly audible to the rest of the audience, and it was good fun having him there.

Still not the easiest play to get into first time round, but well worth the effort of a second visit.

© 2011 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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