Finborough Theatre Autumn-Winter 2018
modest little 1940 comedy by Aimee Stuart could, in the right hands,
be a thoroughly entertaining confection with just enough spice to it
to give it a tang.
is not in the right hands here.
Scottish country lass who comes into a small inheritance and decides
to blow it all on the holiday she never had. (If that rings distant
bells in your memory, it is essentially the same plot premise as
Cecily Hamilton's 1908 Diana Of Dobson's, seen at the Orange Tree a
goes to Vienna with the romantic notion of hearing
the Blue Danube Waltz played at the source, meets a kind English
businessman and is swept off her feet by an impoverished Count who
thinks she is a real heiress. You can fill in the rest of the plot
clearly wants to be a rom-com, if one with a bemusedly
ironic tone. But Nicolette Kay's production has precious little com
to it, and even less rom.
The script has plenty of opportunities for moments of theatrical delight - Jeannie's tentative and then enthusiastic discoveries of modest luxuries, the businessman's growing affection for her, the Count's inevitable and deserved defeat. But they all fall flat.
directs with a ponderousness and heavy
hand that would be too much for a Eugene O'Neill drama, effectively
killing every potential laugh and keeping her talented and
hard-working cast from developing any chemistry, romantic or
adversarial, between any of the characters.
Matthew Mellalieu (businessman) and Patrick Pearson (Count) – along
with a supporting cast who double and triple in small roles – each
work hard to create a character, and each have moments showing that
they know they're supposed to suggest some sort of connection to one
of the others or that a line is supposed to get a laugh that far too
rarely actually comes.
they, and everyone else, have been
directed to act in thoroughly different and clashing styles that make
it difficult for them to relate to each other or even seem to be
inhabiting the same reality.
is clearly a director's failure is
probably more a matter of having no real affinity for the material
than lack of ability, and serves as an object lesson in how essential
it is that play and director be well-matched.
Designer James Helps makes inventive use of a plain table and three chairs in creating a range of settings.
Receive alerts every time we post a new review
Review - Jeannie - Finborough Theatre 2018