Review: Overruled, three plays by George Bernard Shaw, at the Old Red Lion theatre

overrulled-web2-527x158_527x158Thirty-words review: Funny, absurd and ultimately tender, Overruled, the first production of the newly-established Wilmington theatre company, does justice to the language and spirit of George Bernard Shaw.

Will that be enough? Probably not. If I am honest, before the performance, I didn’t know what to expect. Not only was it my first time at the Old Red Lion theatre (an omission on my part as it has a very good reputation), but it was a new company tackling George Bernard Shaw in a space above a pub. Let’s be honest, it could go either way.

In the end, the evening was a perfectly formed and juicy little treat. Three short plays, stretching from frothy silliness to something tender and more profound, give the actors the opportunity to use language, conventions and characters in an exciting and playful balancing act.

The production starts with “How He Lied to Her Hsband”, a tale of indiscretion, misplaced poems, vanity and growing pains stirred into a unexpected mix. “Overruled” is a story of swinging and Edwardian manners, and “Village Wooing” takes reluctant romance to new heights.

Direction (by Polina Kalinina) and design are simple, effective but also full of character. It’s almost surreal how the room above a pub on a winter evening is turned into the deck of a cruise ship in sunny Mediterranean seas.

The actors enjoy themselves in fearless fashion. This is no place for timid performances but through outrageous language and flights of fancy, they remain thoroughly  believable. Special mention to Jim Creigton and Lucy Hough who, in Village Wooing, create a playful yet tender romance, and Patrick Warner, whose primness is only matched by his delicious comic timing.

A nice post-holiday treat where hopeful disposition mixes playfully with wit for a satisfying evening. Booking till 19th January 2013.

If you don’t believe me, you can read revstan’s review.

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