Although it rather runs out of steam towards the end, Fredrick Lonsdale’s slight social comedy, a West End success in 1927, has its fair share of biting put-downs and wry observations as a wealthy widow takes steps to find out if her devoted admirer really is the man for her.
A gentleman without significant means, Richard has spent decades never managing to pluck up the courage to declare his feelings.
Having endured a disastrous marriage to a drunkard, Maria Wislake decides to take matters into her own hands – suggesting they spend a chaste month together at her country home in Scotland where she can make up her mind about his true character.
They’re joined by her young heiress friend Helen (whose father made his fortune in pickles) who is besotted with the caddish (and now bankrupt) Duke of Bristol who has unrepentantly squandered all his money on affairs with married women.
It’s rather dated, a bit repetitive and can’t compete with the wit or psychological acuity of either Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward.
But it’s light-hearted fun nonetheless, as Sara Crowe’s demanding, irredeemably bossy Maria and Peter Sandys Clarke’s unforgivably selfish, self-absorbed Duke push Daniel Hill’s bumbling Richard and Louise Calf’s sweet-natured Helen into admitting just how obnoxious the objects of their misplaced affections really are.
Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1Y 6ST
Tube | Piccadilly Circus
Until 4th May, £20