Brideshead Revisited Review

York Theatre Royal.  Reviewed by Marcus Richardson

A perfect novel loved by many, and it even had its own TV series, so it seemed great that it was coming to the stage. I was excited to go and see this world premiere of the play and I had high hopes as previous York Theatre Royal work I’ve seen was outstanding and entertained me thoroughly, however this was not the case. I enjoyed the acting, the stage and the style of theatre; where it let me down was the plot, well the adaptation, it took far too long for anything to happen.

The death of Lord Marchmain (Paul Shelly) took far too long and I felt very bored whilst waiting for him to die, it took 20 minutes, and by the end of his life I felt no emotions because I was so bored. I found the first half much more entertaining than the second, this was because of the events in the play and the eccentric character of Sebastian (Christopher Simpson) who made the first half a much more enjoyable which as he spiced the plot up and provided drama and sexual tension. A great shout out to Shauna Snow who played all male characters of Rex a Canadian, Bridey the eldest of the Marchmain children and Kurt a German lover of Sebastian. She played each of the characters very well. The multi-role was one of the greatest displays I have ever seen, with character changes on stage, she still made the characters believable.

The stage itself was very clever and minimalistic with a back from of moving black panels and hidden trap door of the floor of the stage, these hidden trap door had items in like wine glasses, and other props that made for a quick and effective scene change, I loved the stage as it created this blank canvas to which it relied on the actors to make the audience believe the world they were in, it was a great contrast to the acting its self as the character were quite naturalistic except of Sebastian as he was so outlandish. I enjoyed certain parts of the play but for me it didn’t entertain me and I left the theatre disappointed and let down. I have to feel sorry for the director Damien Cruden as I think he did an excellent job but the material he was given was poor and slow. It will be on tour across the UK and will be coming back to theatre royal in June time.