DCSIMG

Wilde humour wears so well

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime Blackpool Grand Theatre

Seven years after his marriage to Irish barrister's daughter Constance Mary Lloyd and the same year that he scandalously "met" Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde's marital "itch" was clearly beginning to show when this play made its debut in 1891.

Aged 37 ,he had published his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray the year before and had yet to reach the peak of his biting wit but Lord Arthur Savile's Crime more than points at the writer's later comic genius and c vents his ire at the institution of marriage.

Christopher Luscombe's direction of this relatively lightweight work is as delightfully camp as its author – a mock melodramatic stage set with imitation limelights and a musical duo provides the mood, with the cast allowed to flex their over-the top muscles.

Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead is a delightful surprise as the foppish young lord, coming across like a young Hugh Grant when he is told by palm reader Septimus Podgers (a convincing performance by the ever versatile Gary Wilmot) it is his destiny to commit murder.

So on the eve of his wedding Savile decides he'd best bump anybody off rather than risk killing his fiance Sybil (Louisa Clein).

This allows for charming performances from Kate O'Mara as the worldly wise Lady Windemere, David Ross as a dotty Dean of Chichester and Derren Nesbitt as a stereoptypical German bomb maker Herr Winckelkopf.

Everything is far too politically incorrect to see the light of day in 2010, thank goodness then for the less enlightened but far more humorous 19th century.

It runs until Saturday. Robin Duke

 
 
 

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