Review: London Assurance by Dion Boucicault

 

The Stratford Festival of Canada Presents
London Assurance by Dion Boucicault
Performance viewed: Avon Theatre September 8 2006, 2 pmLink to notes and photos: London Assurance

Artistic Credits

Directed by Brian Bedford
Sets and costumes designed by Desmond Heeley
Lighting designed by Michael J. Whitfield
Music composed by Don Horsburgh
Sound designed by Jeff RichesAssistant Set Designer Douglas Paraschuk
Assistant Designer Tamara Marie Kucheran
Assistant Lighting Designers Gareth Crew, Gavin McDonald
Stage Manager Brian Scott
Assistant Stage Managers Melissa Rood, Maxwell T. Wilson
Apprentice Stage Manager Kim Battistini
Production Assistant Lisa Humber
Production Stage Managers Martine Beland, Anne Murphy

Production Credits

Responsibilities backstage during the performance accomplished by

Stage Carpenter Jeremy Lach
Master Electrician bruno Hacquebard
Alternate Martin Penner
Property Master Mark Fisher
Alternate Michael Izma
Head of Sound Dave Berwick
Crew Gord Balmain, Dan Hoodless, Harry Van Keuren
Wardrobe Mistress Sharon Parker
Wardrobe Attendants Cvetka Fujs, Maxine Houston, Christine Smith
Wigs and Makeup Supervisor Teddi Peddle
Wigs and Makeup Attendant Angela Moncur

Music Credits

Orchestra
Don Horsburgh Conductor/piano
Mel Martin violin
Arthur Jansons viola
Ben Bolt-Martin cello
Derek Conrod horn/cor de chasse
The cast (in order of appearance)
Cool / KEITH DINICOL
Martin / JEAN-MICHEL LE GAL
Charles Courtly / ADAM O’BYRNE
Richard Dazzle / SEAN ARBUCKLE
Sir Harcourt Courtly / BRIAN BEDFORD
Max Harkaway / JAMES BLENDICK
Constable Isaacs / ANDREW MASSINGHAM
Joseph / JACOB JAMES
Pert / SOPHIE GOULET
Grace Harkaway / SARA TOPHAM
Mark Meddle / TIM MacDONALD
James / ROBERT PERSICHINI
Lady Gay Spanker / SEANA McKENNA
Adolphus Spanker / BRIAN TREE
Simpson / THOM MARRIOTT
Servants /ALISON DEON, MARTHA FARRELL, JONATHAN GOULD,
MATTHEW MacFADZEAN, TOVA SMITH

UNDERSTUDIES ALISON DEON (Pert), KEITH DINICOL (Adolphus Spanker), MARTHA FARRELL (Grace Harkaway), JONATHAN GOULD (Charles Courtly, Martin, Joseph), JACOB JAMES (Mark Meddle), JEAN-MICHEL LE GAL (Richard Dazzle), MATTHEW MacFADZEAN (Cool), THOM MARRIOTT (Constable Isaacs, James), ANDREW MASSINGHAM (Sir Harcourt Courtly), ROBERT PERSICHINI (Max Harkaway, Simpson), JANE SPIDELL (Lady Gay Spanker)

 

What a script! Full of witty asides, fun, delightful farce.

Here was Brian Bedford in top form, taking a character right into the stratosphere. I must comment right off the top that his costumes contributed a great deal to the whole effect of his character: aside from the extravagant cut, his colours were delightfully at odds with the sets colours and the colours of the other costumes — they clashed wonderfully. Of course, his wig and makeup were also deliciously outré, as were his two extravagant mannerisms: the brash grand entry pose and the triumphant (but always silly) grin.

Backing Bedford up was a script in which virtually every character’s alternate line was a witty and ironic aside to the audience. Grand gestures ands poses, quick juxtapositions, dramatic irony. Can I countenance a play like this being written today? No. But it seems very modern, thus proving that wit endures.

Meddle’s costume and ghoulish makeup were superb, the sets were wonderfully extravagant, in a grand relief style that was both stagey and lavish. I was delighted, as always by Brian Tree’s befuddled character, and I loved the Clark Kent device of the glasses as Charles’ disguise, particularly at the moment of astonishing revelation and cognitio.

Great fun.

[I was puzzled by the program notes. As I read them, I was unable to discern whether they were describing the action of the play or the script’s genesis. Hmm.]

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordcurrents/ Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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