Set around a lavish ball at a chateau, the tale centres on twin brothers (both played by Feild), an heiress who’s engaged to one twin but desperately in love with the other, and a ballet dancer embroiled in a plot hatched by the more calculating of the brothers.
Anouilh’s other plays include, in English, Becket, Antigone, Eurydice, The Waltz of the Toreadors and Time Remembered.Ring Round the Moon translated from the French (in which its title is L’Invitation au Chateau) by Christopher Fry, had its West End premiere at the Globe Theatre (now the Gielgud) in a production starring Paul Scofield, Claire Bloom and Margaret Rutherford. The revival is directed by Sean Mathias and designed by Colin Richmond.
Critics seemed to agree overall that Ring Round the Moon “is everything the modern theatre supposedly detests: light, elegant, studied, artificial”. However, they also agreed that there was a “curiosity value” in this “odd, diverting mix of cynicism and fairytale fun”. Predictions for the future success of the play were mixed, with some suggesting that “audiences might respond to it with guilty pleasure”, while others felt it was “sweet, skilful, almost instantly forgettable”. There was unanimous praise for a “top-notch cast”. Fiona Button was particularly singled out as “beautiful and touching as Isabelle”. Colin Richmond’s “sumptuous frocks” were also given wide spread praise, as were the “elegant dance routines.” However there was a general sense that these performances were “drowning in the incomprehensible soup of the plot” in an “unfashionable kind of theatre”.
- by Kate Jackson