The Country Wife

Role: Mr. Horner.

cast of The Country Wife in silhouette

Left to right: Terry Wale as a quack, Alan Howard as Mr. Horner, Cherry Morris, sitting at his feet, as Mrs. Squeamish, Patricia Routledge as Lady Fidget, Jacqueline Wilson as Mrs. Fidget, Charles Kay as Mr. Pinchwife, Patsy Byrne, in white, as Mrs. Pinchwife, Patrick O'Connell as Mr. Sparkish, Richard Martin as Mr. Harcourt, Brenda Peters as Althea, Barbara Atkinson as Lucy, Clinton Greyn as Mr. Dorilant

The Belgrade Theatre Company presents William Wycherley's comedy, The Country Wife, with enormous gusto, and whether Restoration plays appeal to you or not, this production by Edward Burnham, who produced Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, captures the imagination by its almost electric vitality.

One can depend upon women rising to the period, but many male actors bring something less than the down-to-earth feeling it demands.

Patsy Byrne enters into the spirit of the occasion admirably in the name part. The letter scene was indeed the highlight of a diverting evening, and Charles Kay is excellent as the tiresome elderly husband who thought an unmannered young country girl would have little attraction for the very mannered young men of the town. Patrick O'Donnell's Sparkish is divertingly inventive.

Edward Burnham enjoys the plays and writers of this period even more than those of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He feels that Britain was less oppressed by artificial non-conformist repressions either before or since that era.

It's an interesting thought. I find that a little would season a week's play-going pleasantly, but enough is as good as any feast.

Birmingham Weekly Post, 19.6.59.

Back to Coventry Reviews page.