Theater: Mothball Melodrama

The Right Honourable Gentleman, by Michael Dyne. They don't write plays like this any more. Thank goodness. Gentleman is a neo-relict from the mothballed fleet of melodramas that Shaw laid to rust when he attacked the theater of genteel piffle. Those bygone plays were Victorian clutched-handkerchief-and-smelling-salts operas. With more calculation than wit, Playwright Dyne drapes sex in bombazine, drops gossip in pear-shaped tones, dredges up his plot from an actual 1885 scandal, and clearly depends on fresh memories of the Profumo affair to titillate his audience and breathe secondhand life into his play....

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