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The Daughter-in-Law (Sheffield)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
D.H. Lawrence] never saw The Daughter-in-Law performed in his lifetime, and there are weaknesses in his script that a new writer today would be forced to iron out in development and rehearsal. As new wife Minnie Claire Price fights to win her husband Luther Philip McGinley from his doting mother Lynda Baron, events and characters follow the course one expects from the start; from the title even. The play makes an interesting museum piece, but has little resonance beyond that.

Paul Miller has assembled a fine cast for his production. Price commands the stage with her usual presence, finding just the right balance of strength and vulnerability for her character. Likewise, McGinley expertly locates Luther's mental and emotional weakness, but physical prowess; one of the most engaging sequences of the play sees him wash in silence for several minutes. Andrew Hawley brings a pleasantly light touch to the more humorous role of Luther's younger brother Joe.

The authentic tone sought by Miller's direction and Simon Daw's design is aided by Mark Doubleday's subtly atmospheric lighting, and superb set dressing by Stage Manager Cath Booth and Props Supervisor Gillian Robertson.

The Daughter-in-Law continues at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield until 23 March. For further information visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk


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