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Shaw's 1909 country-house comedy explores the clash of social classes when an aristocratic Edwardian wishes to marry the daughter of a bourgeois underwear tycoon. In this pleasant production, the acting is consistently fine, with Roger Rees, Victoria Tennant, Serena Scott Thomas, Eric Stoltz, and others forming a polished ensemble. The abridged version of the original text, while wisely leaving out some arcane references, at other times cuts too deeply into some speeches. Allowing the play to run more closely to two hours likely would have preserved more verbal richness without losing the fizz created by the wonderful cast.
Starring (in alphabetical order):
Tom Beyer as Bentley Summerhays
Joy Gregory as Hypatia
Roger Rees as Lord Summerhays
Serena Scott Thomas as Lina Szczepanowska
W. Morgan Sheppard as Mr. Tarleton
Eric Stoltz as Johnny Tarleton
Victoria Tennant as Mrs. Tarleton
Tegan West as Joey Percival
Douglas Weston as Guner/Julius Baker
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Well done. This is less heavy-handed in its social commentary than much Shaw. The send-ups are funny. The audio is very well done and helps you visualize the play and the characters.
Not serious in many ways (kind of like Wilde in being very clever about serious subjects). Women's rights, social climbing and privilege, the self-righteousness of the lower classes, masculinity, and several other still-current stereotypes are sent up in this sliver of a plot.
Several friends who often differ in their tastes have listened to my copy with me, and all were delighted.
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