Tuesday, May 28

School for Scandal – Theatre By The Lake

Style with great content arrived at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake as Tilted Wig brings School for Scandal to the main auditorium, writes Karen Molrey-Chesworth.

This adaptation of RB Sheridan’s comedy of scandal and gossip, written in 1777, is now set in the late 1950’s early 1960s. And the costume department has really taken the brief and run with it. The styling of this production is second to none. 

The stage is set with three plinths holding three telephones, that are integrated into the spreading of society gossip. The luxurious deep red tones of the set create the background glamour to this high society tale.

Sir Peter Teazle has recently married, after a long life as a dedicated bachelor. His new wide is the social climbing, money-motivated Lady Teazle. Joseph Marcell as Sir Peter captures the sympathy and heart of the audience. He gives a strong, beautiful delivery of his heartbreak as the county girl he wed, transforms into the socialite. Lydea Perkins, as Lady Teazle plays the role of the new social butterfly, cheating on her husband and hoping will die sooner rather than later, to make her a rich widower.

Emily-Jane McNeill as Lady Sneerwell opens this touring production – name-dropping, matchmaking and gossiping for her own perverse pleasure. She delights in creating and sharing scandal and, with her opening lines, you are lost in the intricacies of the inter-relationships of her friendship and social strata.

Fear not, you don’t need to remember exactly who is with whom, for as the tale unfolds, we see how relationships and flings link everyone together.

The pace of the delivery is rapid, and the storyline moves quickly. It’s a delight to watch the frivolous lives of the super-rich spiral out of control.

Tony Timberlake as Sir Oliver, Sir Peter’s lifelong friend, is a larger-than-life, hoot of a character. Sir Oliver and Sir Teazle had a pact not to marry and enjoy life as free men. Sir Teazle aims to hide his unhappy match from Sir Oliver and from that deception fun is to be had.

And there is hope for true love. Ayesha Griffiths as Maria is holding out for the right man, as much as Lady T is ready to have her extra-marital affairs.

The cast, except for Marcell, double up to bring the interesting and amusing characters that are intertwined in the scandalous affairs that make this a real school for scandal.

This is a great production, that takes you away from the greyness of everyday life – like flicking through a copy of Hello magazine. Frivolous and fantastic.

Reviewer: Karen Morley-Chesworth

Reviewed: 16th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

School for Scandal opened at Theatre by the Lake and is now touring:

  • Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne 19-23 March
  • Derby Theatre 26-30 March
  • Yvonne Amoud Theatre, Guildford 2-6 April
  • Cambridge Arts Theatre 9-13 April
  • Malvern Theatre 16-20 April
  • York Theatre Royal 23-27 April
  • Shakespeare North Playhouse 30 April – 4 May
  • MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton 8-11 May
  • Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham 14-18 May
  • Royal & Derngate, Northampton 21-25 May
  • Darlington Hippodrome 28 May – 1 June
  • Oxford Playhouse 4-8 June