by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Bill Dow
February 19th March 17th, 2001
Box Office: 873-3311 or Ticketmaster 280-3311
EXQUISITE SHAVIAN PRODUCTION
By Ed Farolan
The Shavian wit, the delivery by these excellent actors, and the exquisite
Victorian set made this Shavian production an evening to enjoy.
Candida, written in 1897, is considered one of Shaw's more "pleasant"
plays--the least didactic, the most romantic, and to many critics, one of
Shaw's own personal favourites. One could easily see the influence in this
play of his predecessor, Henrik Ibsen,whose plays Shaw helped promote in
The first thing that impressed me was the set, a "picture perfect set" by
Marti Wright, in Artistic Director Glynis Leyshon's words.
A gilded frame with Cupid-like cherubims hanging on the frame and lined up
along the set.
Then the actors come in, and the audience is amused by the Reverend Morrell's
rigid secretary , Proserpine (Lois Anderson) who steals laughs from
the audience particularly in her drunken scene in the second half of the
play. The audience gives her an appreciative ovation as she makes her
Veteran actor Duncan Fraser also gets a warm applause for that drunken
scene. Matt Smith as Reverend Alexander Mill did a good job
in his supporting role as the high-pitched reverend who convinces Morrell
to attend a speaking engagement.
Now we come to the main characters. Robert Wisden as Reverend James
Morrell, is the perfect husband, devoted to his wife Candida, a dedicated
social reformer. The rival to his wife's attentions is the young idealistic
aesthete, Eugene Marchbanks, played excellently by Mark Hildreth.
We see Shaw's personality reflected in these two characters.
Then comes the star of our show, Candida, played extraordinarily well by
Jennifer Clement. She played Candida the way Shaw would have
wanted her to be: pragmatic, intelligent, and candid (her namesake).
Shaw's clever lines drew a lot of laughter from this opening night audience.
One line I particularly liked and well-delivered by Hildreth was "Did
you make yourself a fool in public the way I made a fool of myself in private?"
This witty line and many others from Shaw's 50 plays is what makes this
prolific playwright, winner of the 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, an
We have reviewed productions by The Playhouse in the past four years, and
I must say that their productions have been getting better under the artistic
directorship of Glynis Leyshon.
Congratulations to Director Bill Dow for a well-directed play. And
it finished in exactly two hours including intermission!
The Playhouse programme lists down some interesting websites related to Shaw
: 19th Century Science and the Woman Question
BBC Education Biography on Bernard Shaw
The Bernard Shaw Society