Fringe Box



Review: ‘Charley’s Aunt’ – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 17 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 17 Apr, 2013
HarveyRobinson as LordFancourt Babbersley Photo Zoe Barnes

Harvey Robinson (right) as Lord Fancourt Babbersley – Photo Zoe Barnes

by The Stage Dragon

The theme of genteel comedy continues at the Yvonne Arnaud this week, with Charley’s Aunt following The Importance of Being Earnest. This lively and fresh production is put on by the Creative Cow theatre company and runs until Saturday.

The story follows young undergraduates Jack and Charley who are both keen to propose to the ladies who have caught their eye. However without a chaperone they have no hope of enticing the ladies to meet with them.

When their prospective chaperone, Charley’s aunt, cancels her visit at the last minute the boys’ hope of a chaperone and proposals seem to have gone, but if they can just persuade their young friend Lord Fancourt Babbersley to don a wig and dress, all might not be lost…

Katherine Senior As Donna Charley's Aunt Zoe Barnes

Katherine Senior As Donna Charley’s Aunt – Photo Zoe Barnes

The play was adapted very well for a modern audience. The enthusiasm and energy of the cast kept the audience laughing readily. Although the play was one of the first of its kind, for a modern audience the content in the script alone could have felt a bit dated and overly formulaic. But the company have really given the play a fantastic breath of fresh air.

They were a joy to watch and worked especially well together in the moments of farce and physical comedy. A real highlight was when a scene change was creatively combined with various members of the cast chasing each other across the stage.

The most memorable performances had to be by both of Charley’s aunts! Harvey Robinson was hilarious as Lord Fancourt Babbersley and stole the most laughs of the evening. Katherine Senior had fantastic comic timing as Charley’s real aunt, who rather awkwardly appears mid-deception.

The set design was interesting, instead of being realistic and detailed as you would expect from a comedy of this period, they had a more minimal set which allowed them to really be inventive with the space and their movement and it worked well.

It was an adaptation definitely worth watching, and Creative Cow have proved themselves to be a company who bring a real energy to classic plays. It will be interesting to see what they will plan for us next.

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Responses to Review: ‘Charley’s Aunt’ – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

  1. Barbara Bowen Reply

    April 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I enjoyed the imagination and exuberance of the production. But I didn’t like the doubling of the Aunt and her Ward with the two girls.

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