This play is not about very much. A tour guide in a stuffy boring National Trust home with often surprising views about history (Tracey Walker as Lettice Douffet) meets her comeuppance when her employer, the stuffy Charlotte Schoen (Sharon Malujlo), eavesdrops on one of her presentations.
That these two opposites find common ground and eventually common purpose holds the narrative together but what makes this comedy work is the beautiful and at times sublime use of language by playwright Peter Shaffer. It is a treat in the mould of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw (and a host since) and like their works this is not diminished by the time since it was first performed – what fun all the aforementioned writers would have with virtual signalling and the PC crowd of today.
But words on a page can sometime not get you very far if the players can’t get them across. In this both Walker and Malujlo exceed, bringing to the fore all their local and in Ms Malujlo’s case international experience. They are simply excellent; the imperturbable Walker and tightly wound ball of Malujlo playing off each other superbly. Timing is everything and with Angela Short’s tight direction both actors never miss delivering on their line with Walker warming to her task as the production advanced, by the end relishing her performance almost as much as her character would have.
Credit must also be given to Jack Robins’ Mr Bardolph; a study in impatience and legal weariness that is refreshed delightfully once the girls hit their stride before him.
This is great fun for lovers of a good laugh as well as those who revel in the wonders of language, a talent for which the English are unsurpassed.
Kryztoff Rating 4K