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Marrying the Mistress

Joanna Trollope is a popular novelist, particularly amongst women of a certain age. 90% of the very enthusiastic first night audience were a part of the Ms Trollope army...

Published on April 12th 2006.

Marrying the Mistress

By Joanna TrollopeAdapted and directed by David Taylor

Joanna Trollope is a popular novelist, particularly amongst women of a certain age. 90% of the very enthusiastic first night audience were a part of the Ms Trollope army.

The play explores the love affair of a 60 something year old Judge, his relationship with a 31 year old Barrister, the breakdown of his marriage and the different family relationships affected by such happenings. It has a different take on the normal run of these things.

The adaptation is ordinary. Little time to develop character in an ever changing kaleidoscope of short scenes with brief dialogue. A cross between a slide show presented by Powerpoint and a “Paint by Numbers“ evocation of infidelity. It works on the most basic level, but lacks warmth, emotion and passion. It explores terrain which any television viewer of “Eastenders,” “Desperate Housewives“ or “Coronation Street“ would be used to.

The acting seemed to be affected by the flimsy script . Most of the cast were too wooden to inspire the active involvement of the casual spectator. Having said that this audience displayed much empathy when a frustrated daughter in law framed an obscenity in dealing with her Mother – in - Law. Their astonishing reaction was a sharp intake of breath and then whooping and a round of wholehearted applause.

If only we were able transplant this audience to the first night of “Trainspotting“ at this venue just a week ago . What a tremendous education for a student of contemporary theatre. As our society develops, the range of theatrical experiences available is astonishing in its range.

Caroline Langrishe is an excellent Carrie and I very much enjoyed Adrian Lukis’s Simon. They made the best of thin characterisations. Sadly I kept thinking of “Judge John Deed“ on BBC 1.

A night of middle class, middle aged morality, a mundane play offering little in creativity, but comforting to much of the audience who obviously shared, experienced and perhaps even feared the story laid out in front of them. As a paid up imaginary member of this group it left me questioning many of my preconceptions.

There is a substantial theatrical audience for morality tales, but this is not much of a play. A tremendous achievement to almost fill the large Lyric Theatre at the Lowry on a wretched Tuesday night but unfulfilling and in the final analysis, not worth the adaptation.

Richard Burbage
April 2006

Showing at the Lowry until Sat 15th April

Box Office 0870 787 5790

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