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HomeTheatreREVIEW: The Greatest Unique Marigold Lodge on the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

REVIEW: The Greatest Unique Marigold Lodge on the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Deborah Moggach’s guide These Silly issues impressed a shock hit 2012 movie starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and a 2016-2020 TV sequence that includes Wayne Sleep, Paul Nicholas, and Selina Scott. Each benefited from inserting these acquainted faces within the precise setting of an Indian Lodge and exhibiting their experiences within the great tradition round it. She has now tailored her guide for the stage for a UK Tour till June 2023 with 22 extra venues forward in addition to a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary in December earlier than the publicity claims a West Finish Switch. The problem on this newest model is to seize the warmth and cultural ambiance of Bangalore in a single set of the resort courtyard with out seeing the locations round it that characteristic within the video variations.

The characters on stage are the identical as within the movie and it’s troublesome to shake off the recollections of that stella forged of Dames, however the touring forged has a superb pedigree too and after a gradual begin, they set up themselves in their very own proper. The stage model might rely just a little an excessive amount of on stereotypical British old-age pensioners overseas and cultural references to Delhi stomach and the Indian caste system as a shorthand to ascertain the characters and their pasts in an alien setting however as soon as it settles down and the relationships are established the second half explodes into an emotionally participating and touching exploration of the challenges of rising previous and the attitudes required to take pleasure in the advantages of all their life expertise. These older viewers members will reply to the forged of aged pensioners whereas younger members will reply to the decision centre staff who finally unlock the feelings. 

On the centre of the story and giving it actual coronary heart is the pleasant Hayley Mills as Evelyn (the Judi Dench character). She could also be 76 however she is younger at coronary heart and nonetheless emits a gently attractive aura that wins over throughout her. It’s a magnificent well-judged efficiency that charms and strikes us reflecting her expertise from her great movie, stage, and TV profession. Rula Lenska performs Madge (the Celia Imrie character) a feisty cougar, who has seen off three husbands, looking out for a youthful man with a unbelievable head of purple hair and an extended, elegant look and a superb line in slicing putdowns. She is robust and highly effective and a formidable pressure that’s sure to get her approach. Marlene Sidaway is Muriel (the Maggie Smith character), described as “a poor previous bugger, half useless already” and too timid to go outdoors the resort grounds.

Eileen Battye (who performed Anna within the King and I reverse Yul Brynner in 1979) performs Jean (Penelope Wilton within the movie) the dominant spouse of Douglas (performed by a quite subdued Paul Nicholas) normally seen marching throughout the stage on the way in which to exploring the world outdoors the resort along with her husband following meekly and obediently behind. Whereas Andy de la tour performs the aged Lothario Norman whereas hiding a responsible secret that after revealed melts his unsympathetic look. Curiously the character Dorothy (performed by Richenda Carey) was not within the authentic movie and presents a mysterious upright and aloof character who disappears off on her personal mission with out participating with the opposite residents however as soon as the reality is revealed supplies a robust emotional response and perception into the historic relationship between Britain and India.

The younger forged is led splendidly by Nishad Extra because the son of the resort proprietor, Sonny, a cheerfully incompetent however energetic resort supervisor who charms the visitors and the viewers as we see him wrestle to reconcile his devotion to his mom performed by Rekha John-Cheriyan and his good friend Sahani (Shila Iqbal). The scenes the place the Indian tradition bursts onto the stage at a Funeral and a marriage or within the remedy of resort employees present a touch of the cultural world and variations outdoors. 

The staging is spectacular with an evocative two-storey courtyard designed by Colin Richmond (though on the New Victoria stage at Woking the masking within the wings was very poor) and the lighting by Oliver Fenwick didn’t actually seize the warmth of the Indian daytime solar. Lucy Bailey’s path has to deal with the quick vignette scenes of the primary forty-five minutes to ascertain the characters and the common resetting of chairs on the forestage however within the second half attracts the weather collectively as they reveal every of their very own truths and are available collectively as a bunch of pals in order that regardless of the disappointment, it turns into a joyous and uplifting celebration of life and reminds us all that it by no means too late in life to strive one thing new.

Overview by Nick Wayne

Ranking: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, Row E | Value of Ticket: £46.50



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