Solaris review or does Sci Fi as a genre work on stage?
Re-view: The life-affirming Constellations at the Duke of York's

Review: Does @NationalTheatre have another Christmas hit on its hands with The Magistrate

MagistrateIf you like the gentle fun of Victorian comedies of the ilk of London Assurance then you'll like The Magistrate.

This isn't quite a rib-tickler like One Man, Two Guvnors more of a 'smile out loud' as @paulinlondon aptly described it on Twitter.

Its charm, for me comes in the spectacle of the production. From the licorice striped outfits and comic wigs of the dandies singing Richard Stilgoe-composed comedy lyrics between scenes to the revolving, flipping stage and set shenanigans.

It is like a box of chocolates - written with the voice of Forrest Gump's mother in my head - you never know quite what you are going to get next.

The story is typically farcical. Widow Agatha Farringdon (Nancy Carroll) has married honest, can't-tell-a-lie Magistrate Aeneas (John Lithgow) but lied about her age making her 19-year-old son Cis (Joshua McGuire) 14-years-old. Only Agatha knows Cis's true age, everyone else believing that he is mature for his years. When Cis's godfather sends word that he is to visit, threatened with exposure Agatha devises a plan to conceal her lie. Cue clandestine meetings, a brush with the law and a court case.

There are some wonderful moments - Cis's gravity defying top hat is worth the ticket price alone. The performances are all timed to comic perfection and there is an occasional nod to its modern audience - a particularly amusing and knowing piece of dialogue about a stockbroker springs immediately mind.

I don't think The Magistrate is going to win awards although it should for production design and costumes but it is good, solid, charming Christmas entertainment with the usual polish from the National Theatre. Go see and escape for or an hour or three.

The Magistrate runs in rep in the Olivier Theatre at the National until Feb 10.

For more thoughts on The Magistrate you can read Poly's view over on her blog.


Easy peasy one, Mr McGuire is of course in The Hour with Mr W.