Thursday, 11 March 2010


8/3/10, National (Olivier)

2 hrs 40 mins. Simon Russell-Beale camping it up splendidly in Dion Boucicault's 1841 comedy. Not a great play but funny when done as well as this. Parts of it I thought were strikingly modern and then realised that someone must have rewritten some scenes, or added additional dialogue. It turns out to have been Richard Bean, who wrote England People Very Nice, and who is credited in small type with the "textual revisions".

We saw it in preview. The others withheld this information until the interval, knowing my dislike of previews, but I'd deduced that it hadn't yet properly opened because of a few minor flaws: a door in the first scene that didn't shut properly, the odd fluffed line. And one or two of the supporting cast had yet to find the laughs. But it was pretty much complete and I laughed a lot.

Here's Michael Billington's review:

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