Brideshead Reviewed in Cambridge and Elsewhere

Brideshead Revisited opened its run at the Cambridge Arts Theatre yesterday and is reviewed today in the Cambridge News. In the review, by Lydia Fallon, she finds herself 

really wanting to love [the] play, but then leaving the theatre feeling a little cold, and not quite being able to put [her] finger on why. It’s not that there isn’t a lot to admire about Bryony Lavery’s stage adaptation; … far from it: it’s a stylish, elegant and thoroughly modern production; much of the dialogue is beautiful and there are some impressive performances from a talented cast. Yet, for me, it didn’t pack the emotional punch I desperately wanted it to: there was a lot of style, but perhaps not so much substance.

As have several other reviewers, Fallon wishes the final scene could have been shortened and that something could have been found in the second half to replace the chemistry between Charles and Sebastian in first. She concludes

Still, there are plenty of enjoyable moments too; Shuna Snow, in particular, is brilliant, bringing moments of real humour to the production [in three different roles] … and designer Sara Perks deserves a lot of credit too; she’s shunned the usual period drama shininess for a stylishly minimalist set… And, the thing is, on many levels, the play does work, it’s just a shame it misses that certain je ne sais quoi to accelerate it to the next level.

Brideshead also features in an essay published in Crisis Magazine (an online journal for Roman Catholic laity). This is by K.E. Colombini (a former journalist and speechwriter) in which he describes the three books which most influenced his religious life. He was impressed that in Waugh’s novel:

Every member of the Flyte family struggles in his or her own way with what it means to be Catholic, and we have such a wide variety of Catholics in one small family, a variety often seen in our own homes.

Colombini’s other influential books also have Roman Catholic themes. One is Thomas Merton’s Seven Story Mountain, which, as he notes, Waugh edited for British publication, and the other, Hilaire Belloc’s The Path to Rome.

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