The Way of the World Review
Geraldine McEwan who plays Lady Wishfort steals the show with her face plastered in makeup and some superb facial expressions. Although by the end of the play her performance was becoming a little over the top.
One of the things I found strange is why Fiona Shaw decided to play Mistress Millamant. This part did not bring out the best in Shaw. I think with all her talent she should be doing more interesting roles. She is wasted in this.
With shaky sets and some bad casting this is not a great comedy, but it has its moments.
Surely one of the ten best plays ever written in English, Congreve's masterpiece receives a scintillating production, not to be missed by anyone interested in intelligent theater. Phyllida Lloyd's staging misses none of the humor, but also finds unexpected pathos and humanity in the characters. Geraldine McEwan gives a landmark performance as Lady Wishfort, but Fiona Shaw, Roger Allam, and Sian Thomas are equally fine. And Anthony Ward's designs are remarkably witty and stylish. Those critics who wondered (without bothering to answer) what was the point of comparing Congreve's society to our own, or who couldn't follow the plot (!), simply weren't doing their job. A revelation: the best production of an 18th-century play I've ever seen!