In The Critic or A Tragedy Rehearsed (first staged at Drury Lane Theatre in 1779) Sheridan gleefully satirises the theatre of his day. Mr Puff invites the theatre critics Dangle and Sneer to a rehearsal of his latest play, the bombastic and improbable Spanish Armada. Sheridan sets about joyfully parodying the acting styles,theatrical conventions and Green Room foibles of his time with a subtle hilarity which remains sharp and fresh to this day.
Along the way, The Critic pokes fun at all those actors and playwrights who pretend they don't read reviews, directors who won't listen to actors, designers and stage managers who ignore directors, and lemming-like theatre patrons giving undeserved standing ovations. And, yes, those pesky theatre critics…
Report by: Peter Parlour (NODA Rep. District 6) on 27 July 2013 (edited) Venue: Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond Director: Jim Brown
This production was part of the Georgian Theatre’s 225th Anniversary and the celebration of RADS 50 years in the theatre.
What better show to present than a Georgian play written by R B Sheridan in 1779. It was indeed an excellent play. The first half was very wordy, but the quality of the acting was superb. Mr Dangle, very well played by Kevin Fawkes was ‘The Critic' and Sneer played by Warnock Kerr (another critic) were discussing plays and faults of the modern theatre when another playwright arrives - Sir Fretful Plagiary,very well played by Stuart Kerr. He asks for honest criticisms and they mock him. The critics then want to go to the rehearsal of Mr Puff’s tragedy but before they go Puff arrives and becomes the focus of the scene. Puff was excellently played by Mike Walker with superb acting. After they have heard what Puff has to say - the play is about the Spanish Armada - they go to the rehearsal. This scene was amusing because Dangle and Sneer sat in the front row of the audience as Puff was directing his play.The banter from the “Critics” and those acting was very funny.
It was a big cast - the extras had several parts to play with quick changes.
Mrs Dangle was played by Joy Mills and Bruce Cunningham introduced the play with the prologue whilst also taking several roles. Doug Clayton also played several parts very well indeed along with Stuart Kerr, who played Raleigh in the tragedy. Max Walker played the Earl of Leicester whilst Sue Tandy had many quick changes for the parts she played. Others taking part were Mira Wrightson and Freya Mawhinney who both also sang very well. Tom Leeks took small parts very confidently.
Jim Brown did a splendid job directing this play and it was indeed an excellent production. What better finish to a play than to have Britannia, alias Lynne Kerr, leading with ” Rule Britannia” the audience all joining in. Very well done RADS.