Watermill - Love in a Maze
5th June to 27th July 2002.
From The Times.
This years June, far from flaming, is currently flaming awful, but at the opening night of this long-forgotten comedy by Dion Boucicault the rain stopped half an hour before the end, just when the action takes the characters from the interior of a country house to the maze in its grounds. In decent weather the last 25 mins of Timothy Sheaders production are designed to be played in a specially constructed maze in the garden, and suddenly this became possible. Out we trooped on to the lawn to watch Sir Toby Nettletop and his lady, their servants, other young lovers and pinch-faced Lord Miniver lose themselves and find themselves in and around a rose-covered arbour at the heart of the maze.
At the top of the maze, to be accurate, for Philip Witcombs creation is more of a step pyramid. The characters scamper along the several levels, not always re-appearing where you might expect.
From the Newbury Weekly News.
Love's lyrical labyrinth
'LOVE IN A MAZE', at The Watermill, until July 27
Appropriately, the pink flowers of Dicentra, or Bleeding Heart, were nodding in the Watermill garden as the audience watched the last 25 minutes of Dion Boucicault's gloriously witty play concerning the tangled path of love.
And Newbury Theatre's view.
Now here's an odd one: written in the mid 19th century, in the style and language of a 17th century restoration comedy, and set by the Watermill in the early 20th century. Shakespeare in a modern setting, we all take in our stride nowadays, but for some reason I felt uneasy with Boucicault's play set in the 1920s. And in the end I think my problem was I just didn't like the play. It's my old aversion to restoration comedies come back again, after being dispelled by last year's lovely production of The Clandestine Marriage.
Didn't like the play - loved the actors. Nick Caldecott as Lord Minever was gloriously oily - though goodness knows what Lucy (Cate Debenham Taylor) saw in him - and Robert Benfield, as Sir Toby Nettletop (or Tony, as they persisted in calling him the night I went) contrasted Minever's suavity with his rustic naivety. The duel between the two was a splendid piece of farce. Good performances and some pleasant Noël Coward songs from the rest of the cast too.
We were lucky enough to have the last 25 minutes in the maze outside the Watermill, looking like a ship's bridge. With the miserable summer we're having, a lot of the performances are destined to be played indoors.
I can't say that if you liked The Clandestine Marriage, you'll love this, but you'll probably never get another chance to see this play - so give it a try.