This bang up-to-date version of Etherege's satire on the mores and morals of an urban beau monde contains much to admire and enjoy. Some of it is genuinely inspired (making Mrs Loveit the proprietor of an upmarket ladieswear store...the wealthy Yorkshire folk transformed into a monied Asian family...the design as a whole) and the show as a whole goes with quite a swing under Nicholas Hytner's slick direction and with Vicki Mortimer's attractive design. There are a few problems however: for a start, the whole thing is way too long. This is largely due to the long, and frankly unnecessary choreographed sections by David Bolger. Initially diverting, they become increasingly annoying and just feel like glorified scene changes. I also wasn't hugely taken with Tom Hardy's barely audible Dorimant. Although suitably languid, he has insufficient comic skill and precious little charm. No qualms at all however about Nancy Carroll's terrific, stunning looking and hilariously funny Loveit or Rory Kinnear's riotous Fopling Flutter (his second act song is worth the price of admission alone!). Nice support too from Bertie Carvel and Hayley Atwell. The updating, with mobile phones and emails replacing billet doux etc., works well on the whole, and it is fun sitting amongst exactly the crowd whom the show is satirising! - ajh
05 Apr 07
I am still fuming from having spent three hours of my life - which I will never get back - in the Olivier theatre with The Man of Mode.
Tom Hardy is an appallingly self-indulgent actor who seems to have forgotten that he is there to pleasure the audience and not himself. Words drop out of his mouth in an endless, slurring stream and if there is a story to be told – which, Mr Etheridge, I am sure there is - then I am afraid it was lost on me.
Grotesque in its gaudiness, self-conscious at every turn and totally devoid of substance, Nick Hytner’s production is a Paris Hilton of a show. If 'spectacle' is what is required here then that is all very well, but why enlist the help of an English wordsmith such as George Etherege? (No doubt so that, while appealing to a younger audience who have been brain-washed by reality tv, the National need not lose their middle-class clientele.) Bums on seats.
What upset me most was the rapturous reception this piece of non-theatre came down to: are we really a nation so bereft of stimulating entertainment, so incredibly used to not having to use any part of our brains, that we are prepared to settle for, nay applaud, this?
If I could stamp my foot on paper, I would.
- Lucy Voller
06 Mar 07
Unlike The Alchemist by the same director in the same theatre, this updating realy works. The staging is great (wonderful scene changes), the sets terrific and all of the performances first class. A treat. Gareth - Gareth James
28 Feb 07
A superb production which, by setting the play in contemporary London, enables the audience to see it in a completely fresh way and, also, to appreciate that it is timeless. - Philip Bartle
23 Feb 07
Very much a companion piece to The Alchemist, Nick Hytener has again successfully transposed a comedy to present day London. This time the use of Asian actors works much better for the secondary story of an arranged marriage. Tom Hardy is surprisingly good as the libertine, Dorimant, and, unlike Rhys Ifans in the similar Don Juan in Soho, succeeds in gaining the audience's sympathy for this likeable rogue. Rory Kinnear rarely passes up an invitation to over-act and here he is given free reign with hilarious results; his love song to Mrs. Loveit is hysterical as is his brief attempt at the Peter Crouch robot dance. (Talking of footballers, does anyone else think Tom Hardy looks a bit like gary Lineker?). Given that day's atrocious weather I nearly passed on this but I'm glad I made the effort to travel to London. It also helps that the show boasts the best looking cast in town, particularly the gorgeous Hayley Atwell, and much sexier dancers than in Cabaret, seen the day before. David Baxter (8.2.07) - David Baxter
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