The School For Scandal
The School For Scandal

THE SCHOOL for Scandal written by Sheridan was premiered at Drury Lane in 1777. As his most popular play, a comedy of manners, covering themes such as reputation and hypocrisy. Obviously, the audiences in the 18th century were very different from today, but although dated it still works surprisingly well.

The simple set works incredibly well. Set in the 1950s with peach drapes and three pedestals with brightly coloured telephones, stools and a chaise longue appearing at times. The lighting perfectly complementing the set. It is the set, lighting and music which intriguingly add to the pace and physicality of the piece. Sheridan did use his play to poke fun at the fashion of the day and with the setting and fashion of the 1950s Tilted Wig Productions have certainly hit the mark brilliantly with the costumes.

The plot follows a lot of complicated scenes with scandalous behaviour. Characters pretending to be someone else, hiding from others, dishonesty, love, wealth, reputation, gossiping so basically the general high society of the 18th century. The dialogue can be difficult at times, but at others it’s a delight to hear the dated language. It is the skill of the cast that makes it so watchable. Every member of the small cast of eight, give such energy with incredible performances. The choreography implemented perfectly with exaggerated movements and great facial expressions. I’m sure in the original performances in Drury Lane the audience would have produced much more laughter, but, in Darlington, after a quieter 1st act for the audience, the laughter started to increase during the 2nd act.

I also must mention the programme, as it is one the best I’ve seen for a long time, created as a Town and Country magazine with plenty of fascinating features, so much more than just a cast list.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment.

Running at Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday 1st June.