Two Shaw Festival reviews up on the Globe site, three more to come. First is An Inspector Calls, which gets two stars:
A decade and a half ago, An Inspector Calls had a critical resurrection, transformed from chestnut to classic thanks mainly to a daring and expressionistic production by director Stephen Daldry at Britain's National Theatre.On the other hand... there is no other hand. Richard Ouzounian gives it 2/4 stars in The Star, while John Coulbourn gives it 2.5/5 in The Sun. Oh, Robert Cushman liked it well enough.
The Shaw Festival's unexciting new revival, however, seems to have as its goal restoring the play's old reputation - that of a didactic and dated piece of theatre.
Secondly, we have Shaw's Getting Married, to which I gave three stars.
When Getting Married first opened in 1908, Bernard Shaw pre-empted criticism by cheekily interviewing himself beforehand for The Daily Telegraph and declaring that his new play was "revenge on the critics."On the other hand, the Ouze gives it 3/4 as well, goshdarnit, while the Coulb gives it 4.5/5. UPDATE: Cushman says: "Shaw fan though I usually am, I ended feeling that, like the play’s less regenerate characters, I still draw the line at Getting Married."
"There will nothing but talk, talk, talk, talk, talk - Shaw talk," he revealed exclusively to himself in the article. "The characters will seem to the wretched critics to be simply a row of Shaws, all arguing with one another on totally uninteresting subjects."
That is indeed what the wretches said, and they were right, but here we are a century later and Getting Married is back up on the stage at the Shaw Festival for the fourth time, while the play's first critics are dead and buried in unmarked graves. So, resistance is futile - there's no point but just to go along with the Shavian lunacy.
Speaking of stars, guess who DJ-ed the cast party at the Shaw last night? Torquil Campbell, he of the theatrical band Stars. In fact, Torque's been here all week. His half-brother Benedict (who happens to be Shaw fest A-D Jackie Maxwell's ex) plays the Inspector in An Inspector Calls opposite his wife Moya O'Connell, who plays Sheila. His sister Beatrice is stage manager on Getting Married. (Torquil, Benedict and Beatrice's father is the Stratford Festival founding member Douglas Campbell.)