The Little Foxes
Shaw Festival 2008
Written by Lillian Hellman
Directed by Eda Holmes
Starring Laurie Paton, Ric Reid, Peter Krantz and Sharry Flett
Royal George Theatre until Nov. 1.
Lillian Hellman’s 1939 hit The Little Foxes is the best known of the Shaw Festival’s well-made plays this season. The grasping, power-hungry capitalists at the centre of the play are all, as Hellman herself said, “…the sort of person who ruins the world for us”. Sadly, this classic can be mounted in any age because it contains universal truths.
The over-the-top characters lend themselves to scenery-chewing bombast, but director Eda Holmes had avoided that trap by imposing a strong sense of realism. Her characters are so very awful because they are also so very true to life.
The Shaw ensemble once again proves its greatness from small roles to large. Laurie Paton nails the sensual and cold-blooded Regina perfectly. Sharry Flett makes delicate Birdie poignantly heart-wrenching, while Ric Reid’s Benjamin is the portrait of all-knowing, subversive irony.
This strong production absolutely understands and conveys Hellman’s cautionary tale of unbridled greed.
The Little Foxes continues at the Royal George Theatre until Nov. 1.