NODA review from 2005
It was a great pleasure to welcome this highly respected drama group to NODA, particularly with such a fine performance as was given of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. To get right sophisticated playing of Comedy of Manners can be a problem for modern actors but this company coped well, and the Wildean shafts of wit were always a delight.
Cheryl Willday as the scheming Mrs Cheveley was elegance personified, but with a well defined cunning streak. As her major antagonist, Jonathan McGrath as Viscount Goring struck just the right balance between the languid aristocrat and the sharp minded adversary who continues to thwart Mrs Cheveley’s treacherous intent.
As Sir Robert Chiltern, Ben McCann gave a well judged and delivered performance, with Pauline Garland giving good support as his wife. As the emergent “new woman” Mabel Chiltern there was a further excellent performance from Jane Hamlet.
Although not in a major role the performance of Vanda Hargen as the garrulous Lady Markby was a delight and an object lesson to younger players in both style and articulation. Eric Lewis, taking over a relatively short notice in the role of the Earl of Caversham did well. Minor characters were all well defined and were part of the overall strong ensemble, even if the rapid fan fluttering in the opening scene was rather distracting!
With the play well set and dressed, the large audience was given a splendid evening of theatre and David Oliver is to be congratulated on the fine pacing and his direction. I certainly look forward to many more entertaining evenings with this excellent company.