An Ideal Husband by Oscar WildeAlthough Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) created a wide range of poetry, essays, and fairy tales (and one novel) in his brief, tragic life, he is perhaps best known as a dramatist. His witty, clever drama, populated by brilliant talkers skilled in the art of riposte and paradox, are still staples of the theatrical repertoire.
An Ideal Husband revolves around a blackmail scheme that forces a married couple to reexamine their moral standards — providing, along the way, a wry commentary on the rarity of politicians who can claim to be ethically pure. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matrons, an overbearing father, and a formidable femme fatale continually exchange sparkling repartee, keeping the play moving at a lively pace.
Like most of Wildes plays, this scintillating drawing-room comedy is wise, well-constructed, and deeply satisfying. An instant success at its 1895 debut, the play continues to delight audiences over one hundred years later. An Ideal Husband is a must-read for Wilde fans, students of English literature, and anyone delighted by wit, urbanity, and timeless sophistication.
An Ideal Husband - Stratford Festival 2018
‘An Ideal Husband’ review
Vaudeville Theatre. Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including an interval Opened: 20 Apr Press night: 03 May Booking from: 14 Jul Booking until: 14 Jul Excellent performances from the cast. Great to see so many well known, distinguished and skilled actors in one play. The chemistry
An Ideal Husband, Vaudeville Theatre, London, review: Edward and Freddie Fox create a delicious Paul Taylor; Friday 4 May
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Susannah Martin. Do we really need a whole year of middle-class plays taking up a West End venue? Unfortunately, Dromgoole's latest offering of one of Wilde's later and lesser-known plays An Ideal Husband does little to prove its place in a time where theatre is pushing boundaries. It's a solid show, if opening a little shakily with a clumsy ballroom routine, but Wilde's writing stands the test of time. As usual, the play is littered with social and political remarks that remain strikingly relevant to this day, and are met with a knowing titter from the audience. It just goes to show that Wilde was ahead of his time, and that politics really haven't progressed that much. Aside from the socio-political sniggers, An Ideal Husband doesn't offer much in the way of an interesting plot.
Government minister Sir Robert Chiltern Nathaniel Parker has built a career and a fortune on secrets he sold and shares purchased when he was starting out. Fox senior plays the Earl of Caversham, Fox the younger his son, the Viscount Goring, a typical Wilde dandy who delights in all things trivial and refuses to take life seriously. The role of Goring is far larger and Freddie Fox eats it up. Barber plays Mrs Cheveley like a purring panto villainess in a series of gorgeous gowns. An Ideal Husband is a play that explores hypocrisy and corruption, moral complexity and the potential for redemption. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
Edward and Freddie Fox shine in a solid revival of Wilde's witty comedy. While the other actors rush about him, see-sawing their way through gallons of paradoxical banter with varying degrees of subtlety, Fox the elder simply stumps on to the stage, stands still, and floors the audience with a single word or line. The programme notes say it all. I could happily have watched the younger and elder Foxes rub each other up the wrong way all night. But sadly, their relationship is merely a subplot. And the main story is more uneven.