No Thoroughfare by By Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins
Directed by Tom Littler
The Kings Head Theatre - Islington
Reviewed by Sarah Brown
No Thoroughfare, Dickens’ only stage play written with his friend Wilkie Collins, was billed as part of The Kings Head ‘Forgotten Classics’ series – and rightly so. It is nothing short of scandalous that this play is not a regular on the London stage. The script is sparkling and Primavera, the company which produced this performance, are to be congratulated for bringing it to life again.
This is a rehearsed Reading and as I found it extremely distracting that the actors constantly had scripts in hand. On occasion they confused their lines and although they coped with this masterfully and used it to add to the comedy this would have been funnier if the tickets had been cheaper.
Even with scripts some performances did stand out. David Cardy as ‘Mr Joey’ was wonderfully cynical and world weary. I particularly enjoyed his head-shaking fulminations against the fact that his new employer had changed the name of the old firm and how this would bring bad luck. This was a theme which ran throughout, to great comic effect.
Similarly Loo Brealey as Marguerite was a lovelywide-eyed ingénue with some deliberate OTT romantic gestures. She was a great foil to John Sackville’s ‘nice but dim’ George Vendale who blindly persists in taking his greatest enemy for his friend.
No Thoroughfare could have been great if only it had been staged as a proper play.
The Forgotten Classics Season (all rehearsed readings) by Primavera Productions continues at The Kings Head Theatre over the next few months for more information visit http://www.primaveraproductions.com or http://www.kingsheadtheatre.org for more information.