Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Grass is Greener - Richmond Theatre

The Grass is Greener
Writer: Hugh & Margaret Williams
Director: Joe Harmston
Reviewer: James Higgins

This is a new production from Bill Kenwright's hugely successful team and comes 53 years after The Grass Is Greener was first brought to the stage. Hugh Williams aided by his wife Margaret wrote this funny and charming play about the marriage of Hilary Ryhall and her husband Victor and its subsequent ups and downs.

In this production all the action takes place over a week in the late 1950's at Lord and Lady Ryhall's house in Hampshire. The set (designed by Simon Scullion) centres around one large drawing room and helps to evoke a real sense of timelessness of the old English country houses. They, like at lot of old English aristocratic families are struggling to pay for the upkeep of their grand stately home as they are asset rich but cash poor. In order to pay the bills they have opened the house to the general public and sell produce from their estate to the market. Victor tells his butler Sellars how things seem to be working out very well as as they discuss the history booklet they put together.

However one day a wealthy American Oil Baron (Charles Delecro) stumbles across the private quarters of the house whilst on a visit and comes face to face with Hilary. After a initial frosty reception Hilary soon warms to him and they become smitten with one another. Victor is upset and soon starts to think that his wife will surely leave. An old friend (Hattie) comes to stay and Victor soon decides he shouldn't give up hope altogether so hatches a bizarre plan in one last attempt to save his marriage.

There are some good performances amongst a very strong cast, notable ones include Christopher Cazenove (Victor) who excels in his role as Lord of the Manor with a few tricks up his sleeve, Sophie Ward (Hattie) as the mutual friend with her eye on Victor and Gilles Fagan (Sellars) who is excellent as the butler who yearns to become an author.Jack Ellis is very believable as the oil tycoon who's money has never yet found him the love he craves and Liza Goddard plays the Lady of the house with the dilemma well.

This is a thoughtful and gentle vintage comedy with a strong moral message weaved through a tale of love in the 1950's. The audience thoroughly appreciated the comedic touches throughout as well as the interesting twists and turns of the story.

Runs until Sat 17th Oct
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