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Soulpepper – William Congreve’s The Way of the World

The Arts2008-7-15By: Classical Staff

by Paula Citron.
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The Way of the World
Soulpepper
Written by William Congreve
Directed by Peter Hinton
Starring Caroline Cave, Mike Shara, Tanja Jacobs, Diana Donnelly and C. David Johnson
At the Young Centre until Aug. 2.
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Director Peter Hinton’s Soulpepper production of William Congreve’s The Way of the World rides the fine line of outrageous slapstick, but it works. This 1700 comedy of manners has been updated to the 1950s which allows for some bizarre costumes and hairstyles from designer Carolyn Smith, but the back and forth relationship games work well in that era of repressed sexuality.

Tanya Jacobs as Lady Wishfort, Caroline Cave as Millamant, and John Jarvis as Sir Wilfull Witwoud have been allowed to run amok in their characterizations, but they are veryfunny. Unfortunately, Jacobs’s arch delivery as Bette Davis garbles her words, as does Cave’s self-absorbed debutante and Jarvis’ country bumpkin.

The good news is that this all star cast and Hinton understand how to deal with Restoration theatre language, particularly Mike Shara as Mirabell. Congreve’s wit and wisdom, in their more than capable hands, becomes a very enjoyable outing.

The Way of the World continues at the Young Centre until Aug. 2.

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