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An Ideal Husband @ Genesian Theatre

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Time was working against us as we raced to the Genesian Theatre in the hopes of arriving before the actors did onto the stage. A million intersections seemed to jump out at us from the ever increasing darkness as the clock neared eight o'clock.

Finally we arrived at the small converted church, picked up our tickets and walked upstairs to our seats. I spoke with a patron at a later date, whom I saw in the audience, who told me of this production of "An Ideal Husband"; the Director, Timothy Bennett, played the lead role some forty years ago when it was first performed there.

The lights went down and the curtain was lifted to reveal an elaborate stage; complete with statues, furniture and a cast of extremely well dressed and wig wearing individuals.

Despite its long running time, a play split into four separate acts, the piece seemed to flow at lightning pace and as soon as you would sit down after an interval, the applause would start once more and it would be 'fresh air time' once again.

Lord Arthur Goring played by John Willis-Richards was a definite highlight, the character being the embodiment of Oscar Wilde himself, it would seem, with hilarious witticisms, amusing anecdotes and witty repartee all delivered with fantastic comic timing.

The cast was overall very good and the set and costumes, designed to a very high standard indeed. Especially when you consider that this is non-professional theatre.

I did feel, however, that the sound design was almost shameless as it would swell with strings in moments of great emotional pain for the characters, beckoning you to join in the anguish, which is fine when performed in a manner much more subtle.

Simon Frame, the Butler, or Mason, as his character was named, had a tremendous stage presence even though he had only a few lines, but he gave a performance full of delicate nuances and characterised composure.

Jodie Lee Behrendorff's ditzy and self involved portrayal of Miss Mabel Chiltern was another high point.

The Genesian is a comfortable and intimate space located on the very central Kent Street. 'An Ideal Husband' runs until the 10th of December and despite its outdated ideals, specifically in terms of gender roles, it is still as fresh and funny as it, perhaps, ever was.
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Why? An entertaining night at the theatre
When: 29th Oct to 10th Dec
Where: 420 Kent Street Sydney NSW 2000
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