by Paula Citron
The Shaw Festival has another winner in St John Hankin’s The Cassilis Engagement, a well-made play with colourful characters and interesting relationships. Director Christopher Newton has a perfect sense of period and William Schmuck has given him a gorgeous look in sets and costumes.
The subtitle of the play is “A Comedy for Mothers”. When a well-bred young man becomes engaged to an unsuitable young woman, his clever mother, Mrs. Cassilus, invites the bohemian girl and her uncouth mother for a stay in the country. While the ending is predictable, the glory of the play is watching the characters reveal themselves amid the class structure of Edwardian mores and hypocrisy. The tragic element is that the ambitious Mrs. Borridge has sacrificed herself to send her daughter to boarding school, yet sees her daughter’s best chance slip away.
Goldie Semple is excellent as Mrs. Cassilis and leads a superb cast.
The Cassilis Engagement continues until Oct. 5.
From the Shaw Festival’s Court House Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.