As promised a report of the Northern Broadsides production of The School for Scandal. We actually attended the matinee performance on Saturday as we couldn’t get seats for the evening performance. There were seats left on the balcony but they are very uncomfortable and make you sort of lurch forward with your feet off the floor. Anyway, we arrived with plenty of time to spare but we needed it because the car park was full and we had to park on the main road and walk back. We were sitting in the midst of a group of students who were making notes and drawings of the sets and costumes and generally having a wonderful time. The actors began to wander on to the stage area as the front of house staff were still guiding people to their seats so there was a wonderful melee of different people to watch whilst waiting for the performance to start. As is usual with Northern Broadsides there was music provided by the actors and the first tune heralded the start of the play.
I found the whole thing thoroughly enjoyable with good solid performances from all of the company, although I did have slight trouble picking up a few words from the actress who played Lady Teazle, not that she was quiet but more slightly indistinct and lispy. This was accompanied by a particularly strange habit of tucking her elbows into her waist and letting her lower arms and hands flutter about in a most disconcerting manner but she was very funny. There was a totally comic moment of ad lib between the actors playing Charles Surface and Sir Oliver when, just as Sir Oliver was making a sweeping exit a mobile phone rang in the audience. ‘Oh’ the actor declared ‘kettle’s boiled’ – the owner of said phone took a long time dealing with it and each time the actors tried to carry on with their lines off it went again until Sir Oliver turned his gazed upon the unfortunate person and declared ‘Well, are you going to answer it?’ It must have been very unsettling for the actors but they coped well. Naughty theatergoer though, to not switch off their phone it shows great disrespect for others.