To Hell in a Handbag – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Tiger Dublin Fringe Review by Frank L.
Dates Sep 14 @ 13:00 / Sep 15 @ 18:00 / Sep 16 @ 20:00 / Sep 18 @ 20:00 / Sep 19 @ 18:00 / Sep 22 @ 13:00 / Sep 24 @ 18:00
Tickets €13 – Duration 60 mins
Venue: Bewley’s Cafe Theatre @ Powerscourt
The Secret Lives of Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism – Written by Helen Norton and Jonathan White
Helen Norton and Jonathan White have created what is almost a sub-plot to Act III of Oscar Wilde’s great play “The Importance of being Earnest”. In order to do so they have added considerable strength and colour to the personalities of Miss Prism (Helen Norton) and Canon Chasuble (Jonathan White). Norton and White reveal that Prism is a wily old bird and Chasuble even though charmingly bumbling has a healthy streak of financial dishonesty running through his veins. Both of them are keen to improve their lot against their so-called betters in society and are not above skulduggery and deception in order to do so. Of course they are always genteel; as befits Wilde there is a great deal of high comedy in their machinations.
The time is July 1895 and the place is the Garden at the Manor House Woolton and its Rectory. Miss Prism gives her side of the story about the unfortunate incident all those years ago at Victoria Station. It explains how she had become so confused that she had by mistake placed a baby in a handbag and left the hand bag at the station. Canon Chasuble describes how he is in the possession but not the ownership of a large stamp collection which previously belonged to the late Lord Woolton. He has been coy about informing the beneficiaries of the value of the collection. It transpires that both are worried about their uncertain futures and lack of financial security. To remedy these uncertainties, subterfuge and deception are the stratagems to be employed.
This production is cleverly intertwined with Wilde’s play by the use of voices offstage reciting lines from the play. In true Wildean fashion the plot takes many unlikely twists and turns before it arrives at its denouement. The hilarity is intensified by the fact that White and Norton are perfectly matched as Prism and Chasuble. It is all great fun and provides an uplifting hour of lunch time theatre.