David Kenworthy’s production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband brought a feast of decadence to the Ellis Theatre last week. Spectators were treated to an evening of witty verbal dueling set against a sumptuous visual backdrop of social and political turmoil.
The play’s collision of the old world and the new was expertly represented by a committed cast playing roles which spanned the generations and examined a wide range of late Victorian moral values. Performances rich in observational detail allowed the wry humour of Wilde’s perceptions to offset the darker thematic issues and a delicate balance of poignancy and frivolity was sustained throughout.
Appreciative audiences found themselves constantly moving from laughter to pity to outright condemnation as they were drawn in to the characters’ interweaving stories.
This was indeed an apt choice of piece for election year. Public scandals and fraudulent schemes aside, Gertrude Chiltern’s ‘Women’s Liberal Association’ may perhaps serve as a timely reminder of a more positive political progress.
Warmest congratulations go to all involved in creating such a thoroughly enjoyable evening.