Brideshead Reviewed in Worcestershire (More)

The Redditch Advertiser and other local papers has published a review of the Malvern performance of the Brideshead Revisited stage production. This is by Alan Wallcroft who emphasizes that the performance in Malvern is a “nostalgic homecoming” for this story:

which owes a large slice of its inspiration to Madresfield Court, situated just a couple of miles out of Malvern. Although Castle Howard is very much in the nation’s psyche as Brideshead thanks to the original television series, Waugh’s ‘revisited’ owes considerable gratitude to Madresfield. He did stay there and his 1930s-based story was influenced by and is inexorably linked to the home and the family occupying it at that time. He also visited Castle Howard in the late 1930s.

Wallcroft singles out the performances of Shuna Snow and Brian Ferguson as well as that of Kiran Sonia Sawar as Cordelia, who is seldom mentioned in previous reviews. He also praises the settings and direction, although he finds the script “works to a degree, … it fell a shade short of hitting the hotspots Waugh’s novel provides.” His review concludes:

This is an evocative tale that is more about a place than people. A steady plod at first, there is a considerable lift to the proceedings post-interval. It does have a charm of its own which helps to make it an engaging production overall.

Blogger Tim Crow also posted a review of the Malvern performance on the site “Behind the Arras.” He decries the company as 

a strong team who work together very smoothly and maintain essential pace to ensure that a fairly lengthy play does not drag. This is an excellent show that undertakes a considerable challenge and succeeds in no small measure because of the powerful visual impact of the design. The lighting is subtle and compliments the largely bare stage and sliding screens to provide variety and a strong visual impact…The first half was a trifle ‘bitty’ in seeking to introduce a wide range of elements; the second half was particularly poignant. This is a sophisticated and powerful show that deserves to have good houses despite its somewhat selective appeal.

That two reviewers should find the second half better than the first suggests some adjustments in the performance as the tour advances. Many of the early reviews found the second half the weaker of the two parts.

Tammy Gooding of the BBC Hereford and Worcester also interviewed the cast and crew on the Wednesday edition of its news program. The play’s last performance in Malvern is today before it moves on to Brighton next week.


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