Review: Our Man in Havana – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Monday November 2 2015

Three Stars

The last play that Richard Baron directed for Pitlochry Festival Theatre was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, in which the director stuck faithfully by the playwright’s credo that seriousness should be hidden beneath a “sincere and studied triviality”. Graham Greene’s black comedy about a vacuum-cleaner salesman who becomes embroiled in espionage is quite the opposite of Wilde. Its complex story and “winds of change” setting may lend it an air of import, but Greene’s exploration of the British secret service and their role in Cuba on the eve of revolution is never more than skin deep.

Continue reading “Review: Our Man in Havana – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest – Pitlochry Festival Theatre

First published in The Times, Thursday August 6 2015

Four Stars

Line by line, Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece is so familiar you can almost hear the audience mouthing along to some of the speeches. Yet there’s a reverent hush before Margaret Preece, as Lady Bracknell, delivers the play’s most famous line. Will she opt for the time-honoured Edith Evans method of enunciating all nine of the syllables in the word “handbag” or, as it transpires, something altogether more understated but just as devastating?

Continue reading “Review: The Importance of Being Earnest – Pitlochry Festival Theatre”