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AN IDEAL HUSBAND King‘s Theatre, Edinburgh Mon 9-Sat 14 Apr.

According to a lot of business interests, the worst thing about these little, rag-tag underdeveloped countries that struggle along as American satellites is that as soon as you try to invest in them, there’s some dodgy politician with his hand out for a bribe. Well, those Saudi, Indian and Egyptian businessmen can say what they like, I still maintain there are countries in South America that are nearly as bad as Britain.

As successive governments have set about proving that Britain has the best politicians money can buy, Oscar Wilde’s commentary on political corruption is as potent as ever. This Sir Peter Hall production

has been hitting political soft spots doubt a little different, just as our

current premier’s might be. Wilde’s story centres on the

revelation of political corruption in

for six years, and Gillian Diamond, who has taken over the director’s post for the current tour maintains

Wilde at heart: Sir Peter Hall’s production of An Ideal Husband

image she’s created for him.’ Diamond maintains that this is

Wilde’s best play. Even given

Wilde’s adage, associated with The

its relevance even after Hall has set the past of Sir Robert Chiltern, who Importance Of Being Earnest, that

off on his world meanderings with

story: ‘On the opening night, I sat behind John Major and his wife. Every line seemed to have a relevance to what was going on at the time. Mrs Major was roaring with laughter.’

is exposed by the amoral Mrs Tantallus. She illustrates this with a Cheveley, having leaked cabinet secrets for gain early in his career. This causes strain on his marriage, wonderful play, but rather slight in as Lady Chiltern realises her hubbie subject matter, while Lady

is not the man of the play’s title. ‘Robert says to his wife: “You set me so high, I was unable to come

folk should treat trivial things seriously and serious things trivially: ‘The Importance is a

Windermere’s Fan is dated, no one cares if a fan gets left in a man’s room now. This play is still very

She doesn’t recall the then prime down and show you my wounds”,’ much about the world we live in.’

minister’s response, but it was no

DOMESTlC DRAMA AMY’S VIEW King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 3—Sat 7 April.

With a narrative that runs perilously close to soap opera and an approach both mainstream and naturalist. Davrd Har'e's 1997 play had a surprisingly warm reception from critics and audiences. After garnering its star. Dame Judi Dench. awards in its London and Broadway productions. the play is finally to be seen outside these cities.

Susannah York has taken over from Dench in the role of Esme. an actress relearning life late in her career. She feels the secret of this comedy-dramas success is its authentic sense of humanity. 'There are a lot of different vrews about life expressed in the play. but everyone is forgiven and understood by Davrd Hare's writing.‘ she says.

The play traces sixteen years in Esme's life. beginning at the turning pornt of the 60s and ending in the hideous Thatcherite mid-80s. In it. Esme struggles wrth her relationship wrth her daughter. Amy (Rebecca Lacey). each displaying a fierce independence tempered by love. Amy '3 relationshisz do not meet with mother's approval. with a l'lgtit-Vt/llig wanabee media mogul boyfriend creating particular difficulties.

‘They both have to change and at times they seem to SVVIICII roles. with the daughter doing the motherrng.’ York says. “Esme says to her at one point. "I know it's yetir view that love conquers all. but it doesn't. at least that's what I've learned". But even she has more to learn.” (Steve Crameri

Hare piece: Susannah York

58 THE LIST .39 Manth Apr LX701

says Diamond. ‘He’s trapped by the (Steve Cramer)

si-iAKi'fset Ant- A WINTER’S TALE Dundee Rep, Sat 31 Mar-Sat 21 Apr.

Have you ever had a lover whose Jealousy drove you away from them? If you have. you‘ll probably have gotten a little tea and sympathy from a friend. felt a trifle bad about going and decided it was for the best. You didn't. for exairiple have to deal wrth exrle and pr ssible death. as does Hermione from her husband Leontes in this most theatrical of Shakespeare's plays.

Referred to for many years as a ‘problerii play'. A limiter Ta/e is seldom seen. because many directors fight shy of its rapid changes of style. Director Dominic Hill, though. who'll be directing Dundee Rep's resident company. sees this genre—mixing as an advantage. ‘ln the first act you have a kind of potted tragedy like Ollie/it) oi King Lea/f he s; ys. 'but with the second part you go into sorriething like pantomime. Then you have a third with a fusion of both Each is like a rriini«p|ay. but that's like givrng your audience three for the price of one'

Hill is fascinated by the way in which the emotions recreated by the play expose differences between men and women. 'Gender factors in the play are huge. and they're more explicit here than in any of his plays.’ he says. "The men run about trying to act macho. but they're actually pathetic and very ineffective. and the women tell them so.‘

All that. and romance. JeaIOLiSy. statues turning to life. and my fav0urite stage direction: ‘Exrt. pursued by a bear.‘ iSteve Cramer)

Just a jealous guy: Alexander West


Tramway. Glasgow. Fri 30 & Sat 31 Mar.

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Itll‘; ‘r.'.rorl< in progress explores a number of ideas that the cornpany nopes to dexelop later in the year, funding perriiitting. Hill it's ’th:£ll that this is more a response to the book than a theatrical adaptation. 'lt's a itl‘)|()ll of ideas and styles that you see and experienre rather than ‘.".’€ltf;t‘i,' says leiitoii. it"; at; rinrisiial event. not the type of thing noirriall, approached in any kind of theatricai form, You go into a spaee '.‘.’ltti a ntirr‘bei' of different tillllfjf' happening; l..'e per’forrr‘anrge. installatioii, a gloxe puppet. a goldfish. sound and rr:,str;r'roais


iDa‘xie Archibald.

T 5 ~-“ Hawking back to happiness