THE GAME: Harold Brighouse
New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent, and touring
Review: Stoke on Trent, Rod Dungate 12 October 2010
What a gem.
Co-Editor Tim Ramsden reviewed this Broadsides production while it was at proscenium arch theatre Watford Palace. (http://www.reviewsgate.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5291)
At the New Vic at Stoke it’s in the round, and the play may be revealed in even greater detail – there are plusses and minuses.
What a gem of a play this is; great stuff, Barrie Rutter for discovering it for us. The play suits the company style well. What starts out as a delightful social comedy with warm love story turns out to be a scathing exploration of class, hypocrisy and pride. And even in this, there’s a twist. Like Shaw in Mrs Warrnen’s Profession, Brighouse, with great skill, subverts his form in order to carry his message.
Yet the play has a directness that makes it engrossing to watch; the play touches us deeply and truly. I don’t know if Rutter (director, cast member and Broadsides boss) was aiming for an acting style that indicates the early 20th Century style (for that’s how it seems) but I would like to have seen added sublety to some performances which would have brought out even greater depth.
Never the less, this is a good company, and the team brings the final scene off with devastating effect. Catherine Kinsella is attractive and vivacious as the radical Northern daughter and Wendi Peters as Mrs Metherell is both funny and frightening.
For an unusual treat, this isn’t to be missed.
(Production details on earlier review.)