Thursday July 20th 2017

“London Assurance” reviewed by Carol Moore

Recommended **** I really enjoy well-acted period plays, especially those in which the characters offer up one witty bon mot after another, all with perfect manners.  City Lit Theater’s production of “London Assurance” fits that criteria well.  If you don’t enjoy language as much as I do, however, you might agree with my friend, Nancy, who said it just wasn’t her thing, although she did like the costumes.  3 ½ Spotlights
“London Assurance” is an 1841 play written in six acts by Dion Boucicault and first produced at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, London.  It is considered to be the pre-courser to Oscar Wilde’s plays.  Although there have been several Broadway revivals, “London Assurance” had not been produced in Chicago since 1897.
One morning, at the London home of Sir Harcourt Courtly, his butler, Cool (Edward Kuffert) and footman, Martin (Cooper Wise), are hoping that his lordship’s wastrel son, Charles, will arrive home from his nightly revels before his lordship gets up.
Just then, a drunken Charles (Kraig Kelsey) is assisted into the house by a friend who introduced himself as Richard Dazzle (Richard Eisloeffel).  Charles empties his pockets of a series of doorknockers he’s ripped off because the noise they make annoyed him.   As his father calls for Cool, Martin helps Charles upstairs.
Sir Harcourt Courtly (Kingsley Day), an aging fop, is anxiously awaiting a visit from his friend, Squire Max Harkaway (James Sparling).  They’ve arranged that the Squire’s niece’s inheritance is contingent on her marriage to Sir Harcourt.  If the marriage doesn’t take place, the money goes to Charles.
Dazzle, who is completely without scruples, manages to inveigle an invitation to the Squire’s country home, planning to stay a year or two.
Grace Harkaway (Kat Evans) thinks marriage is a waste of time, but she’s agreed thinking he’ll leave her alone in the country and go back to London.  When Charles, whom Dazzle introduces as Augustus Hamilton, meets Grace, he’s immediately smitten.
Meanwhile Sir Harcourt arrives, and sees Charles, who manages to convince his father that he is Augustus Hamilton.  When the Squire’s other guests, Lady Gay Spanker (Cameron Feagin) and her husband, Sir Adolphus, whom everyone calls Dolly, Sir Harcourt falls in love.  Things are further complicated by country lawyer, Meddle (Joe Feliciano), who is determined to make money from someone by any means possible.
 
This was my first visit to City Lit Theater, it won’t be the last.  I really appreciate theater companies who are interested in producing their own adaptions of interesting books or plays by language-oriented playwrights.
“London Assurance” runs through July 23rd at City Lit Theater (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church), 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago.
Running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes, with an intermission.
Performances are:
Friday   7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 730 pm
Sunday at 3:00 pm.
Tickets range from $27-$32.  Metered street parking is available (free on Sunday).  $10 valet service is available at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr, diagonally across the street at 1039 W. Bryn Mawr, except on Sunday.
  FYI (773) 293-3682 or www.citylig.org.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “London Assurance”
 
   
 

 

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