Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: Home And Beauty – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 21 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 21 Oct, 2015
Isla Carter as Victoria in Somerset Maugham's Home And Beauty

Isla Carter as Victoria in Somerset Maugham’s Home And Beauty.

Victoria, with her husband Bill missing in action, dutifully marries Bill’s best friend Fred. The war is over. So all is fine there you say – until Bill turns up on the doorstep.

Somerset Maugham’s play Home and Beauty stylishly takes us back to the elegance and the class divisions in the First World War years.

With wit and irreverence, he deftly navigates between harsh satire – against those who chose not to fight while others died horribly – and hilarious farce, with both husbands equally desperate to ditch the spoilt and demanding Victoria.

Silver-tongued 1920s charmers, bolshy servants, abundance in the midst of rationing, all combine to make this play a decidedly racy, funny and flirtatious affair.

The performers caricature the extremes of society. Isla Carter successfully overplays the shamelessly selfish Victoria, flaunting her feminine wiles and teasing the cast and audience with generous views of her legs. The two competing husbands, Simon Pontin and Reece Richardson, archly reciprocate her style. Alan J Mirren is delightfully caddish as the womanising industrialist making money out of the war efforts of others.

Mark Elstob plays the solicitor with his dry, quirky mannerisms, while Jacqueline Dutoit, the cook and co-respondent and Basienka Blake plays mother in law. All add great humour and style to the play. As supporting parts, they are a treat on their own.

Simon Pontin as Fred and Isla Carter as Victoria

Simon Pontin as Fred and Isla Carter as Victoria.

The sets are elaborate and descriptive of the context, moving from the opulence of up-stairs down to cold comfort in the basement where the work is done – eventually by the luckless husbands when the servants walk out.

A well-staged production with one of the highlights being the silent movie scene which was well received by the audience.

It was a hit in 1915 and it is definitely a hit now. The audience loved it.

Another terrific success for the Pitlochry Festival Theatre and for the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

The production runs at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until Saturday, October 24. Box office: 01483 440000. Click here for website.

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