"Darlings! Wonderfully Fabulous Show Indeed!"
by Lexi Wolfe for remotegoat on 17/10/15

Anything that has me laughing at the wit and raucousness one minute, and then only a few minutes later has me gripping tightly onto my fiance's hand to will myself not to cry, is going to be a winner with me. There are few shows that are both funny and truly touching in places, and this succeeded very capably.

Oscar Wilde reclines on a chaise long (in this case on a raised platform in the quaint village of Burnham, in its little library which is charming in itself), interviewing and exchanging anecdotes with 'guest stars' of the day - William McGonagall, Scotland's Worst Poet, and Lily Langtry, actress and later (though it was not much touched upon) mistress of Prince, later King Edward. When not on stage with his co-horts, wherein most of the merriment and laughter takes place, Wilde relates short stories of his own, The Nightingale and The Rose and, the one which nearly got me blubbing, The Happy Prince.

All the actors were quite capable and kept in character easily, Jonathan Goodwin as Oscar Wilde holding up most of the canopy with his seemingly limitless energy. McGonagall was very likeable and, for all his terrible poetry, made into a very sympathetic character. I would have liked to somehow see a little more of Lily Langtry in a light that showcased her own personality as well. I liked the song she had, but this section didn't feel as rounded as McGonagall's had somehow.

The parts where Wilde told stories to the audience himself was really heartbreaking and very much a testament to Goodwin's abilities as a stage performer, as (speaking from experience) it is not the easiest thing in the world to tell a story all by oneself onstage. I enjoyed these parts the best and actually might have been just as pleased with the production had this been the main focus throughout.

I liked the ridiculous audience participation of miming at the end, though I possibly might have liked it even more had it not been me the baton fell to, to mime. I promptly forgot what a mime was and spoke onstage for sudden stage fright (not something I'm accustomed to and very unforeseen). The audience, a large and welcoming group of lovely local geriatrics seemed to enjoy it all the more for it being myself and, as it turned out, my fiance who were picked as 'volunteers'. We were, as Mr. Wilde insinuated, spectacularly awful, but everyone had fun, so perhaps it will all be forgiven and forgotten. We did also feel it in the spirit of the thing to Have A Go, especially as most of our audience fellows were of a Certain Age and it might have spoiled the evening to have Volunteers keel over mid-mime.

I thought the singing of God Save The Queen at the end just a trifle overdoing it and I freely admit myself and my fiance did a Jeremy Corbyn and kept pretty schtum. That said, the show ended on a lovely note and with a lovely feeling. Everyone was smiling as we left, so I know it was something of a hit and that my own love of all things Victorian and literary had not biased me. I enjoyed myself immensely, and look forward to seeing Don't Go Into The Cellar again very soon. Thankfully, they have a website and Facebook page and I'm signing up for something local in the near future!

Add Your review?

Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Lexi Wolfe
The Cult of K*NZO by Paula Varjack
Fabulous Fashionista Show, Bizarrely Important by Lexi Wolfe
Snake in the Grass
Rehashed Alan Ayckbourn's Entertaining Revival by Lexi Wolfe
The Merchant of Venice
Great Potential From Good Company by Lexi Wolfe
Penny Dreadful!
Deserves a bit more Bite by Lexi Wolfe
The Hogwallops by Lost in Translation Circus
Circus Magic to Beat Hogwarts by Lexi Wolfe