Reviewed by Paula Citron
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Tadeusz Bradecki
Featuring Claire Jullien, Nigel Shawn Williams, Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Norman Browning, Krista Colosimo and Graeme Somerville
Royal George Theatre
Apr. 7 to Oct. 30, 2011
It’s the Shaw Festival’s 50th anniversary, so the first review should be Shavian.
Shaw’s Candida looks squarely at the good, the bad and the ugly of woman as nurturer. Reverend James Morell is a happily married man until a young poet, Eugene Marchbanks, points out that his happiness comes from his wife running interference for him. The poet feels that only he truly appreciates Candida, and so a duel ensues for Candida’s affections.
There is much to recommend about this production, including excellent performances by Wade Bogert-O’Brien as Marchbanks, Claire Jullien as Candida and Graeme Somerville as Reverend Lexy Mill. The other characters, particularly the key role of Morell, played by Nigel Shawn Williams, seem forced and contrived.
Director Tadeusz Bradecki swings between realism and melodrama which makes for a very uneven quality. Nevertheless, William Schmuck’s set and costumes are gorgeous.
And the verdict – enjoyable, yes, but no home run.
Candida continues at the Shaw Festival’s Royal George Theatre until Oct. 30.