Review: Joe Wright's Trelawny of the Wells at the Donmar Warehouse
May I be bold and say I think screen director Joe Wright has got a hit on his hands with his stage directorial debut at the Donmar. Not that it takes much for the bijou Donmar to sell out, not much at all.
Arthur Wing Pinero's play, with 'ornamentation' by Patrick Marber is a joy to watch from start to finish - and it is still in preview. Mr Wright who was sat in the same row as Poly and I had every right to look pleased at the end.
It's a comedy of social differences - the colourful, uninhibited theatre types in one corner and the reserved middle classes on the other. Rose Trelawny, star attraction at the Sadlers Wells theatre, wants to cross the class divide having fallen in love with Arthur Gower (Joshua Silver) the son of a gentleman but the life of a lady doesn't prove to be quite what she expects.
Wing Pinero makes his actors exaggerated luvvies whose performance style, in which they don't so much speak the words as act them, is becoming outdated. His middle classes, by contrast bring decorum and propriety to new heights of stiffness and boredom.
Ron Cook takes on two roles, the landlady of the actors lodgings and Arthur Gowers grandfather, and hits the ball out of the park with both even managing to make sneezing funny. There is also one lovely moment where he shares a joke with the audience.
Aimee-Ffion Edwards, whom I loved since Jerusalem, and Daniel Mays are also joyous to watch as Rose's fellow actors. In one scene they skillfully pull off actors playing actors who are learning to act which is worth the ticket price alone.
Trelawny is silly, frothy and great, great fun, nicely paced with never a dull moment and I imagine it is only going to get better and better.
Grab those Barclays £10 front row seats it runs at the Donmar Warehouse until 13 April. You can read Poly's thoughts over on her blog.
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I'd love Joe Wright to work with Mr W at some point as I'm a great admirer of his screen work and he is developing an interesting body of work but wishful thinking doesn't count here unfortunately. So I'm going to have to go with a second degree connection as he directed Romola Garai in Atonement and she played Freddie's love interest in The Hour.