Monday, May 31, 2010

London Assurance

Ok, so I guess this'll be more of a cultural blog b/c I like to write play reviews that aren't strictly about the costumes. That being said...

London Assurance at the National! Starring Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale this play is a mid 19th century comedy with a fop, a country girl, a masculine woman and all sorts of shenanigans. Simon Russell Beale plays Sir Harcourt Courtly, an aging dandy that has arranged to marry the niece of his friend to secure her fortune and his. Grace is agreed to this because she doesn't believe in love, but falls in love with Charles Courtly, Sir Courtly's son, while in disguise (Charles, not Grace). Meanwhile, Sir Harcourt falls for Lady Gay Spanker (Fiona Shaw) who assists Charles in distracting his father from Grace. Hilarity ensues.

The actors were completely committed to their characters and didn't judge them, leading to some of the funniest moments I've ever witnessed on stage. Beale's portrayal of Sir Harcourt was absolutely sublime. His body language (as you can see above) spoke volumes that added to the comedy written into the piece. His costumes were fantastic, consisting of an incredible morning outfit, his first "country" suit (seen above), a second suit in plum, a white tie satin tuxedo with pumps and his traveling attire (including a purple cape).

Fiona Shaw played Lady Gay, an always happy and boistrous woman who's married her husband, the aged Dolly Spanker, so that she can always be in control. When first introduced she's wearing her hunting ensemble (above) which is fantastically drawn to show a well shod leg. She laughed and smoked and drank and was just absolutely too great. I'd tried to describe her attitude to you, but I can't. She was just too great.

Lady Gay accepts Sir Harcourt's suit in this fantastic dress! The darker stripes are iridescent and from far away the fabric looks like it's been painted on with big brushes. So fantastic! In stiff taffeta this amazing dress moved like a dream.

The cast included (from left) Richard Briers (Sir Spanker), Fiona Shaw, Simon Russell Beale, Mark Addy (Max), Paul Ready (Charles Courtly) and Michelle Terry (Grace).

The costumes were just fantastic on everybody and like I said, the comedic acting was so honest, sincere and nonjudgmental of the characters that it was riotous! One of my favorite pieces ever.

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