by Paula Citron
Lurking in director Alisa Palmer’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s “The Philanderer” is a worthy interpretation. The problem is that Palmer seems to have lost control of the actors, particularly Norman Browning and Peter Hutt who overact outrageously. It makes for very uneven theatre.
“The Philanderer” was written at the height of Ibsenism as a new philosophy with its icon of the New Woman, equal with men in every way. The main character is not a New Woman, however. Rather, it is about Leonard Charteris (Ben Carlson), an Ibsen philosopher and philanderer, and his relationships with the New Woman.
In the play, Shaw created three very different New Women. To counter-balance them, are their stodgy fathers and beaus.
At selected performances the original third act, now called the fourth act, will be tacked on to allow audiences to experience Shaw’s initial take on Charteris and his relationships.
The Philanderer continues until Oct. 7.
From the Shaw Festival’s Royal George Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.