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The School for Scandal

April 16th - April 20th

Tilted Wig & Malvern Theatres

in association with Theatre by Lake

present

The School for Scandal

by Richard B Sheridan.
With Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe star Joseph Marcell.

GOSSIP NEVER GOES OUT OF FASHION

Sir Peter Teazle (Joseph Marcell) believes his young wife is sleeping with someone else. She isn’t.

But she’s starting to think if her husband believes it, she may as well give it a go. After all, if you’re going to cause a scandal, you might as well enjoy it…

Deliciously naughty and outrageously silly, this timeless comedy is a masterclass in social satire and the art of gossip. Featuring an unforgettable cast of larger-than-life characters, each armed with a lacerating wit, The School for Scandal is one of the greatest comedies ever written.

Join us for a lightning-paced evening of romance, revenge and rollicking fun that promises to leave you entertained, enamoured – and perhaps even a little scandalised!

Running time: Approx. 2 hours 20 minutes (including interval)

 

Photo Credit: Robling Photography

 

Details

Start:
April 16th
End:
April 20th
Event Categories:
, ,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
Tues Eve & Wed Mat: £31.36 £29.12 £25.76 £22.40 £19.04
Wed-Thurs Eves & Sat Mat: £33.60 £31.36 £28 £24.64 £21.28
Fri & Sat Eves: £35.84 £33.60 £30.24 £26.88 £23.52
£2 Concessions Over 60s/Unwaged; Under 26s All Seats £11.20
Members Discounts Apply
Price Incudes 12% Booking Fee
Show Times:
Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th April
Eves 7.30pm; Wed & Sat Mats 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • Showtime! John Phillpott

    It was only after I’d seen the publicity shots when I realised that Tilted Wig’s take on this comedy of manners would ironically prove to be rather thin on the ground as far as your actual period thatch was concerned.

    Word association you see. Wigs were big in the 18th century, so I was sort of expecting – and indeed looking forward, if I’m honest – to seeing some seriously outrageous hair.

    No chance. For Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s tirade at Georgian hypocrisy and the societal affectations of his own time appears to have been transported to the inter-war years of the 20th century.

    So, this is presumably the Jazz Age. Yet the setting is curiously devoid of any of the music of that era, perhaps for reasons best known to director Sean Aydon.

    Not that any of this matters, because the key ingredients of this sumptuous banquet of banality is a subject dear to all our hearts. Gossip, tittle-tattle, bitching… call it what you will.

    For nothing changes. Virtue-signal as much as you like folks, but let’s admit it - we all love a bit of backstabbing. No exceptions, right? And therein lies the eternal appeal of Sheridan’s masterpiece.

    Sir Peter Teazle (Joseph Marcell) has wed a much younger woman and right from the start becomes obsessed with the notion that the new Lady Teazle (Lydea Perkins) might well be seeking comfort elsewhere.

    There’s nothing going on, but then she has the thought… why not put flesh on the bones of this self-fulfilling prophecy? If you’ll pardon the expression.

    Inevitably, destiny comes in the form of stupendous cad Joseph (Alex Phelps) who is not the only one to deduce that Lady Teazle’s endlessly fluttering, mascara-drenched eyelashes are sending Morse code signals reading ‘hey, let’s go for it, big boy’.

    As you might expect, Sir Peter soon begins to regret about not being careful of what you don’t wish for. If you get my meaning.

    Joseph Marcell is an absolute powerhouse of cuckolded confusion, his pathetic appeals, often fired directly at the audience, only serving to emphasise the sheer futility of his wretched existence.

    Alex Phelps, too, milks the bounder role for all it’s worth, a kind of Dick Dastardly to Marcell’s Muttley. Meanwhile, Lady Sneerwell (Emily-Jane McNeill) slithers across the boards spewing unfettered beastliness, her rouged lips snarling, curling and contorting like a couple of mating earthworms just unearthed by the gardener’s spade.

    All of this is in stark contrast to Ayesha Griffiths’ Maria, who soon sheds her squeaky-clean pink dress and dons the kind of gear one normally encounters in a 1920s Chicago speakeasy, her lines spoken with the staccato stutter of a Thompson machine gun.

    The glorious thing about Sheridan is that like all free spirits, who also happen to be writers, he didn’t give a fiddler’s cuss for the officially approved wisdoms of the puritanical Georgian middle-classes, mercilessly mocking them without fear or favour.

    Fast-forward 250 years and you realise how badly this politically correct straitjacket of a world of ours so badly needs another Sheridan to emerge… and deliver us all from the same old, time-rusted tyrannies.

  • A View from Behind the Arras - Tim Crow

    Tilted Wig’s revival of Sheridan’s School for Scandal is full of creativity and light-hearted frivolity. Poking fun at people’s weaknesses, gullibility and manipulations is relevant in any age. This production is very stylised and set in a twentieth century context to underline this reality.

    Sir Peter Teasle has married a much younger woman from a rural background who is going excitedly wild in society with her indulgence in spending, in fashion and flirtation. His friend, the wealthy Sir Oliver, has been abroad for years and needs to assess the relative virtues of his nephews, Joseph and Charles Surface, in order to bequeath his wealth on the most deserving.

    The names of the characters identify the foibles they caricature. – Sneerwell, Backbite, Surface, Snake, Candour for example. Hypocrisy, rumours and scandalmongering abound and give rise to farcical hilarity.

    Joseph Marcelo plays Sir Peter Teasle and is the only member of the cast who does not switch characters in the play. He is like a rock around which the action swirls. The cast is strong – Lydea Perkins as Lady Teasle and Mrs Candour is brilliant; Garmon Rhys as Charles and Backbite is likewise excellent. Their roles are very well distinguished and exaggerated in keeping with the whole interpretation of the play, with exaggerated facial expressions and slickly coordinated movement.

    The design of the costumes and the set (Sarah Beaton) is striking with its inspiration from the 1950s and strong pink background. The set itself is minimalist and puts the focus fully on the actors and their stylised, farcical delivery of the lines. They speak at great speed and the plot is rather complicated; occasionally this means we can miss some words and some of the humour, but such a lengthy text needs to be pacy.

    Sheridan has a very sharp wit and pokes fun without moral judgment at the human foibles and character flaws – hypocrisy, unfaithfulness, unrequited flirtations, coverups, farcical confusions. There are frequent satirical lines to expose the folly of human weakness.

    This production is a refreshing revival of a classic play.

  • Fairy Powered Productions - Courie Amado Juneau

    The School For Scandal is a comedy written by R.B. Sheridan in 1777. The story is a convoluted one but, essentially, concerns the effect that gossip, reputations and scandal have on individuals and the society that wallows in receptively pricked ears for loose tongues; after all, if one has to endure the public judgement of a supposed infidelity one might as well enjoy the fruits it…

    The first thing that struck one was the set, which was rather grand thanks to a sumptuous economy from Designer Sarah Beaton. The opening moments set the tone with a wonderful, rapid walk on from all the characters alongside a jaunty score (from composer Ed Lewis) and a nice visual joke – so all kudos to Director Seán Aydon for setting the pace early.

    The costumes were gorgeous with everyone looking very elegant. For me the whole thing would have worked better had it been performed in the bewigged fashions of the time but I know that’s not to everyone’s taste and the current vogue for these types of productions is for presenting them in a fairly modern setting – and in that respect, this production was a triumph.

    Joseph Marcell as Sir Peter Teazle was a commanding presence as the older gentleman with a younger wife. His predicament was believable and one sympathised with him too. He also had a genuine rapport with all those around him, especially his wife played to perfection by Lydea Perkins. She (like all the actors except Mr Marcell) had a dual role – and she was equally effective as the elderly gossip monger Mrs Candour.

    Alex Phelps as Joseph showed a magnificent comic sensibility and he was remarkably charming in his smarminess. His dual role of the drunk Bumper was enormous fun – especially through some marvellous slapstick. Garmon Rhys (as younger brother Charles) had the vocal projection of a rock concert and probably the most range of characterization of any actor on stage – quite manic (mostly as Backbite) but also quiet when the scene demanded. Every scene either actor played in was graced with their presence. There was a fine interplay too between them and their uncle, Sir Oliver, brought to life by Tony Timberlake.

    The small but perfectly formed cast (courtesy of Tilted Wig) were exceptional, all playing their part and I only fail to mention them all individually due to word count restrictions and also that there were so many characters in the play! This cast is rammed to the rafters with a veritable galaxy of stellar talent!

    A wordy piece, much like Shakespeare although the wit is genuinely humorous and the language not so antiquated. It’s remarkable that the actors remember that amount of text – without a dropped line, a pause or a stumble. The play whizzed along at a fair old lick and everyone’s timing was impeccable. And with knowing nods to the multiple roles that people played and breaking the fourth wall, dancing, slapstick and farce – this play really did have something for everyone.

    Egad and upon my word – the gossip is right – ‘tis a corker. And if tonight is anything to go by, its reputation is assuredly assured.

  • The View from the Stalls

    Tilted Wig have followed up their two recent productions - Around The World In 80 Days and Frankenstein - with another co-production with Malvern Theatres, Richard Brinley Sheridan's School For Scandal. Written in 1777, the play along with The Rivals, proved to be one of his biggest hits. Not that it would ensure a life of luxury for him - he ditched his writing career for one in politics and sadly died in 1816 in abject poverty.

    His legacy lies on, however, and centuries later, his plays still attract large audiences, particularly when presented by companies such as Tilted Wig who produce defiantly off-beat productions. Indeed, from the moment you arrive, the set which is used is basically surrounded by huge curtains, three telephones on stands, three ceiling lights and, later, a sofa so clearly this is not staged as a period piece but is a rather frivolous comedy of manners which could apply to any age.

    The story revolves around Sir Peter Teazle - played by Joseph Marcell who was Geoffrey the butler in NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air who has married a much younger Lady Teazle (Lydea Perkins) whom he suspects, for no real reason, that she might be seeking "comfort" elsewhere, often talking about it directly to the audience. She isn't, of course, but it gives her the idea "why not?"…

    Most of the cast play dual roles and luckily there is never any confusion with their costumes clearly indicating who they are - a lot effort has been put into making the wardrobe aspect central to the play, delivering very colourful outfits for most characters. Weasel, however, a streetwise wide-boy, remains suitably monochrome. Whilst all of the cast played their roles extremely well, of particular note are Alex Phelps and Garmon Rhys who expertly portray their very funny characters Joseph and Charles as well as Bumper and Backbite (they all have strange names!) and there is some fine moments requiring some very adept interplay skills (throwing and catching books for example) which fortunately all worked a treat.

    The use of music was cleverly done too, introducing each separate scene and abruptly stopping as the lights came back on but the best of the music was reserved for the unexpected finale. All eight actors came back on stage after the applause and gave us a thoroughly enjoyable music and dance sequence which clearly they were loving as much as the audience and which somehow typified Wilted Wig's approach to the classics - do them respectfully but differently.


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