Roxane Hayward as Lady Viola de Lesseps (Photo: Daniel Rutland Manners, Supplied)
Cape Town – Putting on a paired down and intimate theatre production based on an Oscar award-winning multimillion dollar movie is not easy. I imagine that there aren’t only physical and fiscal limitations but you are also competing with a memory that some in the audience will have of a classic film.
Roxane Hayward’s Lady Viola de Lesseps starts off timidly and slowly builds into the best part of the production. I found myself wanting her to take centre stage in every scene she was in. The androgynous dual role – which was most famously played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the film of the same name – could have swallowed a lesser actress and the talented performer does incredibly well. Dylan Edy as The Famous Bard is obviously incredibly easy on the eye and totally sells Shakespeare’s lovesick bad-boy appeal. The two leads' chemistry pops sometimes and always left me wanting more.
Nicholas Pauling and Theo Landey were my favourite members of the supporting cast. They made me laugh and cry at exactly the right moments, while still being generous to the people that they were sharing a scene with. Talk radio fans will recognise the voice of Fennyman, who is played by John Maytham. The journalist and actor is a good fit for the overbearing moneyman who brings some great laughs and keeps the plot moving.
I would say that this is the perfect production to go watch with your main squeeze on a balmy summer night because even though it tells the story of two doomed love affairs it still made me feel like writing a sonnet. Don’t go hoping that someone has reinvented one of the most classic love stories of our time but rather go and look forward to local acting talent, set design, direction and lighting at its finest.