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. Continue reading

Review: The Doctor’s Dilemma at the National Theatre

Genevieve O’Reilly (Jennifer Dubedat) and Tom Burke ( Dubedat). Photo Johan Persson

I went to The Doctor’s Dilemma without expectations. I knew nothing about the George Bernard Shaw play (although, unsurprising, it had doctors in it). Even without expectations, in the first twenty minutes or so, the play and production seemed set to disappoint.

Fortunately, I am pleased to report that the initial bad omens were not fulfilled and the evening turned in a very engaging, playful, darkly comic theatrical experience. This is a comedy (maybe) about death and love, where tragic things are funny and funny things are sad.  Not knowing anything about the play proves a huge advantage as the shifting of perceptions is a huge pleasure. A recurring theme is knowledge and deception, but characters and audience end up with very few certainties and answers.

The character of Dubedat needs an actor with huge charisma, and Tom Burke rises to the challenge splendidly. As Dubedat, he is playful without being shallow, mysterious yet transparent, and inappropriately profound. He also pulls, as far as I am concerned at least, a magnificent double bluff that left me feeling a tiny bit guilty. Continue reading