IT WOULD be a shame if the damning criticism of ‘The Way of the World’ at Chichester in last week’s County Times (‘Dull opener for Festival’s 50th anniversary’) should discourage your readers from seeing this play.
I loved it, a brilliant and entertaining production of a world class play.
I loved the opulent and glitzy set with its myriad of shiny chandeliers set against a gold and silver backdrop, the superb period costumes transporting us back 300 years to an age of foppery and affectation and the scintillating script keeping us on our toes with its razor sharp wit.
The play rattles on at cracking pace involving the audience in this tale of love and money with its many twists and turns.
The quality of the acting is superb. I particular loved the two fops, Witwoud and Petulant played by Giles Taylor and Christopher Logan, who gave outstanding comic performances.
If you do go, read a synopsis first (there’s one in the programme) as it will make it easier to understand the sub-plots.
Chichester has given me many wonderful theatrical evenings over the years and this was certainly one of them.
The theatre is celebrating its 50th year and is on the crest of a wave, under the direction of Jonathan Church, with a quite exceptional range of plays, designers, directors and casts.
I am sure there are more great evenings ahead and recommend anyone to buy some tickets for this or other productions (some are already sold out).
But don’t just take my word for it, that doyen of theatre critics, Charles Spencer of the Telegraph, described this production as stylish and richly enjoyable and ‘one which discovers emotional depth beneath Congreve’s dazzling surface style, and does so with rare confidence’. He gave it four stars. I give it five.