Reviewed – 5th February 2018
“the production could benefit from the addition of perhaps some small details to better signify a location change”
Finborough Theatre marks its building’s 150th anniversary with a selection of the best plays from 1868. The first of these is Henry J Byron’s Cyril’s Success, presented by Marooned Theatre and directed by Hannah Boland Moore. In this Victorian comedy drama we see playwright, Cyril Cuthbert, at the start of what appears to be a thriving career. However, it soon becomes apparent that his marriage may suffer as a result and his wife, Catherine, is not best pleased to learn he has not only forgotten their wedding anniversary, but that his heart may, in fact, have wandered astray.
There are some laugh out loud moments scattered throughout the production and, overall, the humour appears to be relevant for a modern audience. Much of this comes from Miss Grannet (Susan Tracy), the schoolteacher whose day-long marriage twenty two years earlier has left her bitter and with a loathing for husbands. Cyril’s friends Mr. Pincher and Titeboy, played by Stephen Rashbrook and Lewis Hart, prove an entertaining duo, with Hart’s jittery Titeboy producing numerous laughs. Isabella Marshall captures Cyril’s wife’s dismay in the face of her marriage predicaments well and gives an engaging performance throughout the play.
The intimate performance space above the Finborough Arms pub is used relatively well, with furniture and props in keeping with the Victorian era. The action of the play takes place in four locations, but there is nothing used to mark the changes of location within the set. The space is undeniably too small for numerous set changes, but the production could benefit from the addition of perhaps some small details to better signify a location change. In this way, the set has a lot of potential and it would be interesting to see what could be done in a larger space.
Last performed to London audiences 127 years ago, Cyril’s Success is a humorous play that may lead you to wonder what other period pieces are waiting to be rediscovered.
Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com
Photography by Scott Rylander
Finborough Theatre until 20th February