Our evening at the (always lovely) Watermill began with actor Charlotte Bate taking to the stage, smiling as she assesses the audience in front of her. She introduces us to
The crux of the issue for our star-crossed lovers is that
A game cast fit the Restoration Era comedy well, managing to keep the pace up, preventing the production from being bogged down by the confusion, double bluffs and lies that are the hallmarks of
If I have an issue with The Rivals it is that the play feels overstretched; there is a smidge too much narrative repetition to proceedings. When you know where things are going it is hard to not want to prod things along to the resolution. But when the finale arrives, it is as silly and over-the-top as it needs to be and left me with a smile on my face as I braced for reality's return.
The Rivals is an enjoyable theatrical treat at the Watermill. A funny, talented cast is aided by a fabulous design from James Cotterill. The set maximises the intimate space of the theatre, while the costumes are gorgeous. But where the play stands out is in a trio of very good performances which makes this a fun evening for all.