An ideal choice for the Abbey

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Listings -

AN IDEAL HUS­BAND Abbey Theatre, Dublin Previews Aug 11-13 Opens Aug 14-Sep 27 8pm 130/120/116 Sats 2.30pm 118/114 01-8787222 When Os­car Wilde wrote An Ideal Hus­band, in 1893, he was rid­ing a wave of suc­cess, with the best yet to come. A few years later, his ca­reer and life would lie in ru­ins, with death from cere­bral menin­gi­tis im­me­di­ately ahead.

Wilde was con­demned and de­stroyed by the same hyp­o­crit­i­cal English so­ci­ety he satirised, as in this par­tic­u­lar play. The noble Lord Chiltern has made a for­tune that se­cures his so­cial sta­tus and po­lit­i­cal suc­cess through a kind of in­sider trad­ing, some­thing he still sees as a le­git­i­mate means of be­com­ing rich and pow­er­ful. His friend Lord Gor­ing sees it dif­fer­ently, but still helps him out when black­mail threat­ens to ex­pose him.

The char­ac­ter of Gor­ing is the near­est em­bod­i­ment of Wilde to ap­pear in any of the au­thor’s plays, a walk­ing com­pen­dium of apho­rism and wit. It is ex­tra­or­di­nary that the Abbey has never staged this one be­fore, and a cause for con­grat­u­la­tion that the omis­sion is at last be­ing reme­died. GERRY COL­GAN can’T see ThaT? caTch This Sizwe Bansi Is Dead Project, Dublin

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