A review round-up for An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre, London.
Real life father & son Edward & Freddie Fox play fictional father and son in the West End production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.
Overall reviews have praised father and son Edward and Freddie Fox for their comic roles in the West End production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. With star ratings ranging between two and four The Stage criticised members of the cast for being overstretched, with the Guardian in opposition impressed by the depth of casting.
The production forms part of Dominic Dromgoole’s Oscar Wilde season at the Vaudeville Theatre and is directed by Jonathan Kent.
Wilde’s comic play of blackmail and political corruption also stars Frances Barber as Mrs. Cheveley. Best-known for her role as Caroline Warwick in BBC series Silk, her many screen and stage credits include Mr. Holmes, Vicious (ITV), and Death in Paradise (BBC).
Read a round-up of reviews below.
The Guardian, ★★★★
“Wilde’s dandies and fat cats verge on the preposterous.
Edward and Freddie Fox, as a father and son, are the star turn in this stylish revival of Wilde’s send-up of a money-mad society
Nathaniel Parker plays Chiltern as a man aggressively unapologetic for his youthful ambition but faintly comic in his later adoption of a high moral tone.
Even when the play verges on the preposterous, as in the farcical shenanigans of the third act, the production openly acknowledges Wilde’s recklessness.
There is strength in depth to the casting, with Susan Hampshire brilliantly turning the gossipy Lady Markby into an unquenchable social gusher and Tim Wallers making Goring’s valet a figure of lugubrious gravity.
Faith Omole is suitably sparky as Chiltern’s sister and it is no fault of Sally Bretton that she can’t make much of his naively hero-worshipping wife.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Edward and Freddie Fox create a delicious double act.
Oscar Wilde’s comedy gets a shrewd, enjoyable revival from Jonathan Church.
Freddie Fox was brilliant a few years ago as Oscar Wilde’s nemesis, Bosie…Now he’s back in Wilde country, giving an enchantingly comic performance as Lord Goring, Bosie’s temperamental opposite, in this shrewd, very enjoyable revival.
Fox’s performance beautifully shows you the generosity and lack of self-importance with which the character makes light of his hidden depths.
You emerge, rather, marvelling at the golden good humour and delicious sense of the absurd that never left Wilde even in times of extreme stress.
Frances Barber plays the melodrama to the hilt as the adventuress Mrs Cheveley.
Susan Hampshire is an absolute delight as Lady Markby…And the venerable Edward Fox creates a delicious double act of mutual exasperation with Freddie.”
Paul Taylor, The Independent
The Stage, ★★
“Jonathan Church’s An Ideal Husband feels like it’s going through the motion. It’s capably played for the most part but has barely any perceptible pulse.
Edward Fox doesn’t have a huge amount to do though he’s immensely watchable when on stage. The role of Goring is far larger and Freddie Fox eats it up. He’s on fine form here. He wakes the production up whenever he’s on stage, but it never feels as if he’s stretching himself.
Barber plays Mrs Cheveley like a purring panto villainess in a series of gorgeous gowns.
The safety curtain descends (slowly) during scene changes and there’s some inoffensive violin playing. Simon Higlett’s gilded set, all gilt and velvet, shimmers prettily while also looking rather flimsy.
Church’s production makes Wilde feel cosy, clubby and safe. And that’s a real shame.”
Natasha Tripney, The Stage
Evening Standard, ★★★★
“Fantastic Foxes team up for a Wilde West End delight.
Jonathan Church’s production triumphs because it skilfully balances Wilde’s light and shade, rather than overdosing on epigrams and skimping on emotions. It’s light on its feet but also profound; witty but, when it really matters, true.
Edward Fox’s vowel sounds are now a national institution, but it’s Fantastic Master Fox who steals even more of the plaudits.
The role of Lord Goring is tailor-made…for Freddie, for whom Wilde’s epigrammatic flourishes are a splendid match. He sensibly doesn’t overplay it, but instead adds some glorious little touches of playfulness to his part.”
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
Time Out, ★★★
“Fantastic Mr Foxes are an ideal match for Wilde’s comedy.
Freddie Fox is triumphant as the dandyish Lord Goring. There’s never a dull moment when he’s onstage. He wiggles around the gilt set with freshness, energy, intelligence and aplomb.
It’s a shame that Frances Barber, the powerful actress playing femme fatale Mrs Cheveley, is miscast, and sometimes seems shouty and hoarse.
There’s not much delicacy in the dynamic of blackmail, vanity and disappointment at the heart of this glittering story. It’s a solid evening of real Wilde, with some sparkling facets – just not the ideal one.”
Caroline McGinn, Time Out
An Ideal Husband runs from 20 April 2018 until 14 July 2018 at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Average rating score for this production:
Date: 29 May 2018
Written by: Simon Raven
Tags: An Ideal Husband, Edward Fox, Frances Barber, Freddie Fox, Susan Hampshire, Vaudeville Theatre