The School for Scandal

Malvern Theatres


Tilted Wig’s revival of Sheridan’s School for Scandal is full of creativity and light-hearted frivolity. Poking fun at people’s weaknesses, gullibility and manipulations is relevant in any age. This production is very stylised and set in a twentieth century context to underline this reality.

Sir Peter Teasle has married a much younger woman from a rural background who is going excitedly wild in society with her indulgence in spending, in fashion and flirtation. His friend, the wealthy Sir Oliver, has been abroad for years and needs to assess the relative virtues of his nephews, Joseph and Charles Surface, in order to bequeath his wealth on the most deserving.

The names of the characters identify the foibles they caricature. – Sneerwell, Backbite, Surface, Snake, Candour for example. Hypocrisy, rumours and scandalmongering abound and give rise to farcical hilarity.

Joseph Marcelo plays Sir Peter Teasle and is the only member of the cast who does not switch characters in the play. He is like a rock around which the action swirls. The cast is strong – Lydea Perkins as Lady Teasle and Mrs Candour is brilliant; Garmon Rhys as Charles and Backbite is likewise excellent. Their roles are very well distinguished and exaggerated in keeping with the whole interpretation of the play, with exaggerated facial expressions and slickly coordinated movement.

The design of the costumes and the set (Sarah Beaton) is striking with its inspiration from the 1950s and strong pink background. The set itself is minimalist and puts the focus fully on the actors and their stylised, farcical delivery of the lines. They speak at great speed and the plot is rather complicated; occasionally this means we can miss some words and some of the humour, but such a lengthy text needs to be pacy.

Sheridan has a very sharp wit and pokes fun without moral judgment at the human foibles and character flaws – hypocrisy, unfaithfulness, unrequited flirtations, coverups, farcical confusions. There are frequent satirical lines to expose the folly of human weakness.

This production is a refreshing revival of a classic play that runs till Saturday 20th April in Malvern. It can later be seen in Cheltenham, Northampton and Oxford in the Midlands as part of the continuation of its tour.

Tim Crow


Index page Malvern Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre