Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Candida @ Orange Tree Theatre (Play Review) Candida @ Orange Tree Theatre (Play Review)
Candida @ Orange Tree Theatre (Play Review)

The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist effort in democracies, rather than by revolutionary overthrow.


Written almost ten years after the Fabian Society, a British socialist organisation that fostered the idea of democratic socialism via gradual reformist efforts, Candida one of Bernard Shaw’s most popular comedies details with great accuracy at an important time in UK’s political history.


Reverend James Morell is a hardworking, clergyman committed to spreading the principles of social democracy, to whoever cares to listen asking only a donation for his cause.


Though powerfully built but he’s emotionally weak, no match for his with sharp-witted and coquettish wife Candida who is able to easily outmanoeuvre him on any issue be it domestic or political.


Candida herself is a free-spirited no-nonsense advocate of the burgeoning feminist movement determined to forge her own path, whether it’s in love, or the role of women in society.


We’re introduced to Eugene Marchbanks a young poet Morell had found sleeping rough. Despite his feeble disposition, he’s mentally tough and audaciously declares his undying love for Candida.


Morell is angered when Marchbank insinuate that the Reverend is no match for his iron will and that he will ultimately depose him for his wife’s affections.


After several heated exchanges, the two men beg Candida to choose which of them will win her love. Candida feels her love for wasted on her husband as he’s loved by so many others and that she may be better directing her love to Marchbank as he’s unloved. Morell feels he has lost her and is resigned to his fate


She finally opts for Morell because he is the feebler minded of the two and would be unable to cope without love whereas Marchbank having never experienced it would cope much better without it.


Though at its heart, the play is passionate and psychological love triangle Bernard Shaw always took the opportunity wherever possible to use theatre to promote his socialist leanings.


Therefore Martin Hutson is excellent as the sanctimonious pulpit pounding pugilist Morell, striding from meeting to meeting delivering long-winded sermons, who despite his calm exterior was an unstable volcano on the inside ready to explode at the slightest annoyance. His ability to change from piousness to apoplectic rage in an instance was amazing to watch.


His temper all but evaporated in the presence of his selfish and flirtatious wife Candida (Claire Lams) played with obvious relish. With her soft voice, angelic features but unnerving steely yet she skilfully portrayed a woman who knew she held power over men and took delight in using it.


Joseph Potter is highly accomplished making his theatrical debut as the young bombastic and insufferable poet Marchbanks, ready to steal Candida from the marital wasteland she finds herself. His terrier-like performance as he took on the might of Morell was hugely entertaining


Sarah Middleton puts in an admirable performance as the rebellious consummate feminist Prosperine Garnett, who despite her forthright views on male dominance has allowed herself to fall in love with Morell. Whilst Kwaku Mills as Reverend Alexander Mills, provided many of the comical scenes as the clergyman who seemed more fond of his bed than his Bible.


Although an explosive comedic love triangle, this excellent version of Candida, Director Paul Miller skillfully manages without intruding too much into one of Shaw’s most enduring plays  a turbulent period where there were hugely opposing views on the role of women and the best ways of moving towards a for a fairer more democratic society.


Candida, Till 11 Jan 2020, Orange Tree Theatre, Tickets https://www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk/

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!