The Way Of The World

Don­mar Ware­house, Lon­don

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - THEATRE -

Un­til May 26, 3hrs 15mins

Restora­tion come­dies can be all fops, frills and flum­mery, but James Mac­don­ald’s new pro­duc­tion of Con­greve’s 1700 play is pre­cise, cool and clin­i­cal. It takes its cue from the com­plex plot of dou­bledeal­ing, char­ac­ters pro­fess­ing to hate/love an­other and par­tic­u­larly the mon­e­tary ob­ses­sion driv­ing it all.

There’s a touch of Much Ado’s Beatrice and Benedick in the grad­ual com­ing to­gether of Mirabell and Mil­la­mant, even of Les Li­aisons Dan­gereuses in the hint of vi­o­lence of the du­plic­i­tous cad Fainall to­wards Mrs Mar­wood. Jus­tine Mitchell as Mil­la­mant gives an en­ter­tain­ing if slightly mod­ern read­ing in in­to­na­tion and fa­cial ges­ture. Ge­of­frey Streat­feild’s Mirabell,

though, dull. is de­cent but a tad The plum role is the ageob­sessed harpie Lady Wish­fort (the al­ways ex­cel­lent Haydn Gwynne), peer­ing into a mir­ror and wail­ing ‘I look like an old peeled wall!’, re­sem­bling one of those frilly-doll looroll cov­ers and wrestling in­ef­fec­tu­ally with a chaise longue. Praise, too, in the com­edy stakes, for Fisayo Ak­i­nade’s su­per­fi­cial man­about-town Wit­woud, who has the spark that, for me, is miss­ing in much of this slightly flat pro­duc­tion. Mark Cook

Jenny Jules as Mrs Mar­wood

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