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Review: An Ideal Husband

Attraction - Theatre

The Strand, London, WC2R 0NH, United Kingdom

An Ideal Husband - an Oscar Wilde triumph!

  • By SilverTraveller JennieSilver

    31 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • May 2018
  • Adult family

155 people found this review helpful

Susan Hampshire simply is Lady Markby in this play, she twitters and whitters gloriously, all the while delivering Oscar Wilde’s delicious, witty lines with utter naturalness. This is a drawing room comedy, satire in places, with touches of farce in Act III. It comments on the roles of husbands and wives in marriage, politicians and political mistakes, with blackmail and romance thrown in for good measure. And, as the villain, an adulterous widow. Stir all this in a pot, add Wilde’s wicked words and you have an excellent evening’s entertainment.

Nathaniel Parker plays Sir Robert Chiltern admirably, the noble politician with a skeleton in his cupboard. His wife, who adores him, for he is the ideal husband, greater than other mere mortals, is elegantly portrayed by Sally Bretton. Their best friend, the theoretically dim, lounge lizard Viscount Goring, who demonstrates an admirable level of quick thinking when needed, is prefect for Freddie Fox, with his father played by Edward Fox, in a real life father son moment. The endless exasperation Fox senior shows on stage may indeed reflect that of a biological parent! Goring’s love interest, Miss Mabel Chiltern, offers Flora Omole the opportunity to express flirtatious naughtiness that finally wins her the man of her dreams.

Our villain, Mrs Cheveley, fabulously brought to life by Frances Barber with her gravelly voice so suited to the role, is beautifully thwarted in the end.

The play is staged traditionally and this served the audience well. Wilde’s prose rang out clear, delivered with just the right amount of emotion and great comedic timing. The messages Wilde proffers hold true today – no man or woman is totally perfect, successful marriages require compromise and politicians beware – secrets will catch up with you! And never underestimate that foppish friend, they may have unexpected, hidden depths.

All in all, great fun in an intimate theatre that lends itself to this play very well!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • DRSask
    over 3 years ago
    I would have liked to see this performance, especially with Susan Hampshire! I saw one recently in Stratford, Ontario and the first half fell a bit flat but picked up in the end.
  • HMJ
    over 3 years ago
    Love the review and can't wait to see it - my tickets are booked for 5 July. Edward Fox is one of my favourite actors, if not the favourite.