Review Round Up: Shaw Shorts, Orange Tree Theatre

The Richmond based theatre is welcoming audiences back with a production of two Bernard Shaw plays – we round up what critics have been saying about it…

©The Other Richard

The Guardian: **** “A combination of heritage frocks with modern-ish fashion – leather jacket, man-bun, trainers – subtly suggests the line of descent from Wilde and Shaw through Coward to the betrayal games in Harold Pinter’s The Lover.”

A Younger Theatre: ***** “Throughout, the cast not only match the characters stakes within the plays, conveying the immediacy of their situations, but they push those stakes to their limits. This intensifies the comedy of the scenes and allows the characters to turn on a dime so effortlessly, taking the audience in a direction that we did not expect whilst maintaining the believability of the scene.”

Everything Theatre: **** “So why these century-old plays now? For sure, they are a fun way to cautiously reintroduce us to theatregoing, but additionally they clearly link us directly to current thinking. The costume choices, sometimes suggestive of days gone by, at other times clearly contemporary, blur the past with the present.”

©The Other Richard

Exeunt Magazine: “I don’t think either the plays has a ton to say about love or society – Overruled makes a semi-case for “polyandry” and there’s a hint of class snobbery in Teddy Bompas’s description of his wife as “the smartest woman in the smartest set in South Kensington” (sibilantly delivered by Mifsúd) – but they’re enjoyable comedies. Shaw Shorts is a pleasant evening, and maybe right now that’s enough.”

Theatre Weekly: **** “Paul Miller’s direction amplifies the comedic nature of these plays, with a plentiful dose of physical comedy thrown in.  Careful attention has been paid to respecting Shaw’s work without confining it to any specific period.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “If ultimately Shaw Shorts feels like a pair of attractive curtain raisers in search of a more substantial main attraction, rather than a really satisfying evening of theatre in its own right, there is still much here to enjoy. Visiting this cosy but smart venue is always a pleasure, especially after the theatrical barrenness of the last 14 months: it just would have been nice to stick around for a little longer.”

The Reviews Hub: *** “It’s good to be back in the Orange Tree, but these short offerings only serve as amuse-bouches, which, without a main course, leave the audience hungry for something with more meat to its bones.”

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Broadway World: **** “Both productions are anchored by their casts, who nimbly carry Shaw’s elegant and clever use of language. They have a lovely chemistry and bounce off each other in a very comfortable manner.”

Once A Week Theatre: “Two Bernard Shaw tales of topsy-turvy love affairs – smart, insightful and great fun – make a strong beginning for this Richmond venue’s exciting ‘Recovery’ season.”

British Theatre Guide: “Director Paul Miller has shown an affinity for Shaw with several productions since he became Artistic Director at the Orange Tree and these plays gallop along with the cast relishing their language. Yes, they are self-consciously clever and rather wordy, but Shaw’s style and Miller’s production make that part of the comedy.”

©The Other Richard

Shaw Shorts continues to play at the Orange Tree Theatre until the 26th June.

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