An Ideal Husband

The Palm House, Sefton Park
29th July 2009

Reviewed by Vicky Brocklehurst

Liverpool’s stunning Palm House provided the perfect vital expanse for Liverpool Network Theatre’s production of Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband. The cast allied confidently, with each actor delivering a commendable RP accent and physicality to fit the period.

The talented Laura Michelle (Lady Basildon) and Yvonne Thompson (Lady Marchmont) opened the show beautifully, displaying comical centred performances interpreted with wit, irony and perfect timing. Robbie O’Neil delivered an energetic and easily watchable performance as the dandified hero Lord Goring. Joel Ross unfortunately failed to possess the emotional flexibility or vocal and physical strength to deliver an accurate demonstration of the deceitful Chiltern, whose seemingly successful life is based on mere fabrication. He failed to connect to the other actors, delivering speech laboriously and ducking out of showing genuine emotion.

The direction failed to emphasise key plot hooks, which made the production ebb into a repetitive rhythm. This became increasingly difficult to watch and made the show lose clarity of its key themes of marriage, love and deceit. The pace of the performance, particularly in the final act, was too slow and not at all crisp for the demands of a wordy Wilde play.

This was a strong amateur production set in beautiful surroundings that demonstrated brilliant moments of real professionalism. However, it was unfortunately littered with discrepancies, which blocked the production reaching its full potential.

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