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“In the midst of strange political times, we are reminded by Oscar Wilde that there is no such thing as an honest politician…
The play is typical Oscar Wilde: satiric humour and plenty of laughs, mixed with a message. It almost turns into a farce with slamming doors and mistaken identities, but is saved with its clever dialogue and interesting characters.”
“Underneath this pretty and shiny veneer of Victorian England, director Lezlie Wade digs further into the context and subtext of Wilde’s play.
The Director’s Note states, “The making of ‘ideal’ men and women is as unrealistic as it is dangerous…while the past may be sufficiently buried, neither husband nor wife emerges unscarred.” I’d like to add that no one remains unscarred in An Ideal Husband, and this fine cast captures this stark reality.”
“Designer Douglas Paraschuk captured this opulent era of the privileged (1895) with large-linked sets which didn’t stint on details (notably the Master’s portrait) even as Diana Coatsworth’s choreographed scene changes rightfully drew admiring applause just as the fly tower readily devoured the main courses.”
“Wade delivers a singing comedy, one that leans into Wilde’s renowned ripostes, making room for them even in the script’s dourer moments. …The audience broke out into applause twice during the opening performance of Lezlie Wade’s production of An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde’s 1889 comedy about hypocritical moralities in high-society London. Both were for scene transitions.”
“Where Stratford’s current production fails is in not looking deeply enough into the characters of Lord Goring and Mrs. Cheveley. Director Lezlie Wade falls into the common trap in directing one of Wilde’s non-Earnest plays of trying to make the entire comic like Earnest even though it obviously is not… the director should not try to force the whole work into Earnest mode but allow it to be its own play, fascinated with the various personae that people project and the secrets that lie behind them.”
“Joseph Ziegler as the Earl of Caversham has some great moments on stage with Lord Goring, his son, often eliciting laughter merely with a puzzled expression or sideways glance…The costumes by designer Patrick Clark are stunning and the sets by Douglas Paraschuk grand, with many moving parts. It’s an ideal fit for the Avon Theatre stage.”
“The Stratford Festival’s new production comes only days after a high-gloss revival in London’s West End opened to rave reviews…One prize asset in Stratford’s new production is the seductive display of villainy provided by actress Bahareh Yaraghi in the role of a resourceful blackmailer named Mrs. Cheveley. A second major virtue of this revival is Brad Hodder’s portrayal of Lord Goring,”
“As Lord Goring, Brad Hodder inexplicably speaks a few decibels louder than the rest of the cast – but he makes his character’s stream of one-liners and physical flourishes very enjoyable. He’s at his funniest opposite a deliciously deadpan Joseph Ziegler as the Lord’s utterly uncharmed father”