School for Scandal
School for vandals
This article is from 2009.
RB Sheridan's classic comedy has much to recommend it in our current era of vacuous celebrity tittle-tattle and grotesque self-interest. Yet the normally admirable Cal McCrystal's production seems to have read the text so radically against what it seems to suggest that here we have not so much a deconstruction as a destruction of the canonical comedy of manners.
Here Sheridan's play becomes a celebration of the kind of affluent wastrel B-list lifestyle he condemned, with a cast of such should've-known-betters as Lionel Blair, Marcus Brigstocke, Stephen K Amos and Phil Nichol spending a good deal of time breaking from the script to promote their shows and egos amidst a lot of mock corpsing and school play slapstick.
This cheery act of cultural vandalism is at first given an uncertain welcome from a vaguely tittering audience, but as the nigh-on two hours proceeds you start to sense a certain anger. By the time of the famous screen scene, one wishes the item in question, rather than concealing one performer, had been drawn across the entire stage. Eat your own genitals before you see this poorly performed and ill-conceived travesty.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 4pm, £13.50–£15 (£12–£12.50).