Masque production is sheer confectionary

The Barretts of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier

Directed by Barrie Howard

At the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg until Saturday July30

Bookings 021 788 1898 Email bookings@masquetheatre.co.za

Review: Celia Musikanth

This production by Fish Hoek Dramatic Society is sheer confectionary. Gently mix together hauntingly beautiful curtain music viz. Elgar’s Salut d’ Amour Op 12 , gorgeous Victorian costumes, lovely set, excellent lighting and you have an astutely directed and engaging theatrical experience.

The love story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning is well-known, and their relationship is known as history’s most famous literary marriage.

Director Barrie Howard has an exquisite eye for detail and his love for the Victorian era is evident throughout this production. From the moment the music starts one is transported back in time and the story takes one on a journey filled with tyranny, romance, frustration, anger, humour and bravery. To tell the story would be simplistic and I feel that it is so much better to go and see it and live the journey with the Barrett family.

Natasha Futeran is very believable as the invalid Elizabeth Barrett, she captures the moods of her character most successfully and the chemistry between her and Robert Browning is convincing and true. She is luminous as her love deepens and I found these scenes captivating and moving.

Wayne Ronne as Robert Browning is very suave and romantic. He looks good, articulates well and cuts a dashing figure. As mentioned before, the chemistry is tangible and the feed off each other is believable.

Elizabeth’s headstrong sister Henrietta is convincingly played by Erika Marais. This is a strong performance, truthfully played and a shining example of good characterisation. Her defiance and heartfelt pleading were stand-out scenes in the production. Dennis Benneyworth as the tyrannical Mr Barrett is cruel and frightening, and one totally sympathises with the family living under his iron rule.

Jane Cohen’s Wilson (the trusty lady’s maid) is a delight, with good timing and she provides light relief to some of the tension in the family. Leanne Ferreira as Bella Hedley is a dream. She is a beautiful actress and literally glows in the part. Others in the large cast, too many to mention, gave solid support.

The most heart-warming performance came from the beautiful four-legged Oliver playing Elizabeth Barrett’s adorable pet dog Flush. An audible “awww” went up in the audience with each of this dog’s entrances and exits.

Do see it.