Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Comedy playlet smug, performances just student-calibre

  • Print

THERE'S a smug quality to George Bernard Shaw that is wearing a bit on this Shawfest-goer.

The playwright tossed off the 1904 comedy playlet How He Lied to Her Husband in a weekend, according to this production's program, or in four days, to cite Wikipedia. Perhaps it was a three-day weekend.

Theatre review

How He Lied to Her Husband

  • Resonator Theatrical
  • To Saturday at Rudolf Rocker Studio
  • Tickets $10 at 219-8616
  • Two and a half stars out of five

At any rate, Shaw bragged that he had spun an original play out of a hackneyed situation: a husband, his wife and her lover. He cockily asserted other writers could do the same if they'd just stop "plagiarizing Othello."

To audiences back then, this three-hander likely was very funny because it gave a reality check to familiar conventions about romantic love, jealousy, male honour and female passivity. It is clever, but self-consciously so. Shaw's references to his own hit play Candida raise chuckles, but come across as self-congratulatory.

The show, directed by Rob Brown and billed at 50 minutes, actually runs only 35. The actors are inexperienced amateurs, their performances of student calibre at best. And while Shaw intends the lover to be a youth and the wife in her mid-30s, the two here appear the same age.

Aurora (Adrianne Winfield), the wife, is supposed to be going to the theatre with Henry (Daniel Pop), whom her husband trusts as a friend. But Aurora is deeply worried that love poems written for her by the adoring Henry have gone missing and will reach her husband (Dennis Sinclair).

Henry, a starry-eyed romantic, says they should unashamedly declare their love. The no-nonsense Aurora frets about scandal.

Just as you're thinking Henry is an awful lot like the marriage-disrupting poet in Candida, it's revealed that the pair's theatre tickets are for that very play. They've both seen it already. It "put ideas into their heads" while putting her husband to sleep. More Candida jokes ensue.Shaw plays with the cliché that women are seduced by sonnets. It turns out Aurora hasn't even had time to read all the poems. When the husband shows up, Shaw twists our expectations further.

How He Lied to Her Husband is a witty enough minor work. But in a festival that lacks productions of masterworks like Heartbreak House and Saint Joan, one begins to feel there's too much from the lightweight side of Shaw's canon.

alison.mayes@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2012 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Inside peek at Real Pirates, new Manitoba Museum exhibit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google