|The Widowers’ Houses– at The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond|
A Play for Today written in 1892
Putting on a play that has rarely been seen since its first outing in 1892 can be a risky business. Too often the reason why a play has been kept hidden is that it really isn’t very good but, happily, that’s not the case here. Artistic Director Paul Miller is to be congratulated for tackling this one - it’s a smashing play that deserves greater recognition.
Things start out gently enough as idealistic young doctor, Harry Trench (Alex Waldman) falls for spoilt brat Blanche Sartorius (Rebecca Collingwood) while they are holidaying in Germany. The mood changes as he learns the source of Blanche’s father’s wealth - Sartorius (Patrick Drury) is a slum landlord. A self-made, multi-millionaire, with no qualms about the horrible conditions his tenants are forced to live under, and Blanche can’t see the problem either.
A very strong cast includes Simon Gregor fabulous as rent-collector-turned-landlord Lickcheese who has discovered ingenious ways to make even more money out of the system; Stefan Adegbola as social climbing opportunist Cokane; Lotti Maddox as the put upon but not as silly as Blanche thinks she is maid and Corran Royle as the waiter.
The production runs until 31 January 2015
With images by