The Norman Conquests (Table manners, Living Together, Round and Round the Garden)

We decided to see these three plays in order over three days. Seeing them in order was fine, seeing them over three days was a mistake. It has the advantage that you remember the earlier plays, but by the third play, a little forgetting might make it a little more interesting. I found myself drifting off in the middle of Round and Round the Garden. 

The plays, written by Alan Ayckbourn, have no great meaning – they are simply an amusing look at a family brought together over one weekend. The title of the trilogy explains it all – Norman, played by Albert Schultz, seduces everyone. The plays are a great vehicle for Schultz, demonstrating that he really can act! not only does he seduce the women (and men) in the play, he seduces the whole audience. He just wants to be happy and make every one else happy. 

The rest of the cast are very good, although Fiona Reid as Sarah, has fallen back on being Fiona Reid. She uses the same range of mannerisms for this character as she did for Entertaining Mr Sloane. Funny, but a bit repetitive. She can act – so it would be nice to see a little better use of her talents. Oliver Dennis is hilarious as the dithering veterinarian Tom, wooing the patient but frustrated Laura Condilin as Annie. Sarah Monnell is amusing as Ruth and Derek Boyes is an excellent Reg, the long suffering husband of Sarah. 

I can only assume that Soulpepper needed a comedy to fill out the season (and the seats) and picked this set to give Schultz a chance to chew up the scenery. He was worth the price of admission.



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 The Norman Conquests (Table manners, Living Together, Round and Round the Garden)

  1. keithhpotter says:

    It ain’t Rashomon! You get three looks at the same weekend, but you do not learn much that is new with each iteration.
    I share Cathy’s concern about Fiona Reid; she seems to have slipped into being a set of mannerisms, rather than an actor – which is a pity as she is, or can be, a very good actor. We have seen the same thing happen at Stratford, but there they have been shook out of their inertia recently. I hope a director does the same for Ms. Reid soon.
    The rest of the cast was good, in a set of silly roles. I think these plays were put on just so Albert Shultz could demonstrate how seductive he can be, not just for the sisters and sister-in-law in the play but for the audience too.

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