by Paula Citron
At select performances, the Shaw Festival is presenting a 4-act version of Shaw’s The Philanderer which transforms the play’s shallow farce and caricature into clever and provocative theatre.
When Shaw originally wrote The Philanderer in 1893, he was counselled to rework his original third act because it was too advanced for public tastes. The 4-act version features both acts.
The original last act is set four years in the future where we find intelligent people engaging in cynical conversation. The characters talk graphically about how to circumvent Britain’s antiquated divorce laws while causing the least amount of scandal.
What is so wonderful about the original last act is that characters are allowed to bloom and grow, while dispelling their previous single dimensional personas. Try and catch this version if you can. It makes a world of difference.
The 4-act The Philanderer has eight more performance in June and July. The 3-act version runs until Oct. 7.
From the Royal George Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.