An Ideal Husband

Date 15th November 2019
Society High Tor Players
Venue TheWhitworth Centre, Darley
Type of Production Play
Co-Directors Simon Brister and Kathy Padley

Report

Author: Joyce Handbury

An Ideal Husband is an 1895 stage play by Oscar Wilde that revolves around a wealthy and highly respected politician, Sir Robert Chiltern, who is threatened with ruin by the revelation of a single act of corruption in his youth. The action takes place  in London over the course of twenty-four hours. High Tor Players are performing the play in three different venues over three evenings - a challenge in itself! Obviously this has an effect on scenery etc. and consequently it is delivered solely by the use of props but on the night that I saw the play it was performed at The Whitworth Centre in the grand Victorian Hall and on the back wall of the performance area was an elaborate piece of exquisite wooden panelling which just added that little extra touch - most appropriate! Peter Wilmot as Sir Robert Chiltern perfectly captured the inner turmoils and differing emotions following the blackmail threat from Mrs Cheveley, not only because of his possible downfall but also because of his devotion and love for his dignified and moralistic wife who was most admirably and touchingly played by Susan Devaney. Chris Gale was flashy, laid back and so natural in his superb delivery of Viscount Goring the wealthy, bachelor socialite and friend of Sir Robert. Lindsay Jackson was in her element as the scheming, spiteful, elegant, charming and seductive Mrs Cheveley. She portrayed all of these elements perfectly and her downfall was a joy to watch! Rachel Callen was delightful as the flirtatious, lovelorn Miss Mabel Chiltern who eventually succeeded in getting ‘her man’ and as The Earl of Caversham, Chris Pawley was every inch the serious, old-fashioned and most respectable father of Viscount Goring. Jane Small brought out the humour in the script with ease and great comic timing as the gossipy and kindly Mrs. Markby - a lovely performance. First-rate support came from Chris Kraushaar (Vicomte de Nanjac), Susan Morgan (The Countess of Basildon), Liz McKenzie (Mrs. Marchmont), Bryce Glithero (Mason) and Martin Devaney (Phipps). The costumes were absolutely fabulous and the main female characters had so many different outfits all equally stunning and all worn with such dazzling jewellery. The men were equally stylish and flamboyant in their grey Morning Suits and Viscount Goring’s waistcoats were a sight to behold! The glorious costumes certainly gave the whole play the feeling of opulent living together with the few, but appropriate props. A splendid production with some excellent acting made for 'an ideal' evening’s entertainment. Congratulations to everyone involved.