Being Mr Wickham by Adrian Lukis. stream.originaltheatreone line. com 4****. William Russell

Wickham is, of course, one of English literature’s greatest bounders and one of Jane Austen’s most memorable creations, the other side of the coin to the romantic Mr DArcy with whom he grew up. They are a kind of Tweedle Prig and Tweedle Rotter and Adrian Lukis, playing Wickham, has crafted a gloriously funny piece of on screen theatre in which the rogue on the eve of his 60th birthday looks back in dismay because he is growing old.
He and Lydia have been at a ball and had a falling out because he spent too much time dancing with somebody else. She has retired for the night and locked the bedroom door. He has retired to his snug and is knocking back the brandy.
Lukis displays loads of debauched charm, this is a man who knows his weaknesses, repents very little, enjoyed the rakehell life when he was in the money, and has an undying hatred for the son of his benefactor with whom he grew up. Director Guy Unsworth and designer Libby Watson have placed on the stage of the Bury StEdmonds theatre a piece which moves as part play, part film – it is a compelling hybrid. It could easily have been just another monologue but Lukis brings all the others to life, his rivals, the hapless Edmund Scutter who set his cap at Lydia, much to her delight, The peerless Elizabeth, the snobbish D’Arcy and his benevolent father who provided the young Wickham with the good things in life until he died all there. Wickham reveals his role model, in the box at the theatre before he and Lydia went to the ball, was Byron. Wickham so wants to also be bad, mad and dangerous to know, except he knows for all his sins he was nothing of the kind. This is an original theatre bonne bouche to savour.

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