Our Betters

Somerset Maugham wrote this play of manners that contrasts the styles and values of the rich Americans  and the no longer quite so rich British and European men who marry them. The content seems dated, but it was still a lovely evening of theatre. 

The sets and costumes alone were worth the price of admission. First the cream and whites of London in the afternoon; then the black and silvers of the evening in the country after dinner; then the morning after when everything seems tawdry and decrepit. 

The actors were uniformly strong from Julia Course as the innocent trying to be sophisticated Bessie to the overly cynical Claire Julien as Pearl. Laurie Paton as Minnie and Catherine McGregor as Flora were both superb. Wade Bogert O’Brien as Fleming Harvey hit exactly the right balance between having values and standards, and not coming across as a prig. Neil Barclay as Thornton Clay pranced around the stage with just the right flamboyance. I did wonder at one moment if he was going to be able to lever himself up from the couch, but he made it. 

I am not always a fan of Morris Panych’s direction, but he excelled at keeping this one on track.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Our Betters

  1. keithhpotter says:

    I thought it was a lovely production: direction, acting, design, lighting. Everything was done well, but I wondered why they had bothered?
    The Shaw Festival has unearthed some very interesting plays written during Shaw’s long life, this just didn’t seem to be one of them.

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