When I went: 20 May 2017
Location: Apollo Theatre, London
Performers: Eve Best (Olivia Brown), Anthony Head (Sir John Fletcher), Edward Bluemel (Michael Brown)
Creative team: Trevor Nunn (director), Terence Rattigan (playwright)
Approximate price: £55
Special points: Wartime background
Best bit: Act 2 denouement
If I could change one thing: More pacy Act 1
Love In Idleness, despite the wartime backdrop, is all about the comedy and farcical elements. Act 1 plays off the tension in post-WWII London between the rich and not-so-rich, the right and left of the political spectrum, and the young and old; Act 2 ties up the threads very neatly.
I thought that the play had the opposite of the second half dip so often found in musicals – while the first half sometimes felt a bit slow and convoluted, the second half was fun and the actors had more room to explore their (now established) characters. While some of the ‘reveals’ were pretty obvious (such as Michael dating John’s wife), the main one involving John’s machinations was not, and the ending felt well-earned.
I booked tickets to see this mainly because it had Anthony Head, aka ‘Giles from Buffy’, in it. There are lots of fine actors in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but Anthony Head is one of the best, and it was great to see him on stage. His Canadian accent was initially a surprise (as I didn’t know much about the play beforehand) but he carried off his performance as John Fletcher with aplomb, making him appealing despite his politics. Edward Bluemel had a really hard job trying to make the character of Michael likeable, as Michael has to be whiny a lot of the time, but he did really well, and Eve Best was perfect and very funny as Olivia.