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Sara Topham

The Importance of Being Earnest

May 23, 2021

Of course, there’s Wilde’s brilliance with his ingenious epigrams, the barbed skewering of the British class system and the precise plot. Most importantly, this glorious document preserves Brian Bedford magnificence. [more]

Travesties

May 8, 2018

The play is narrated by Carr through his memories as an doddering 80-year-old man, returning him (and us) to his days as a 30-year-old resident of Zurich. As such he both unreliable, altering his story as he narrates his life, with “time turns” allowing us to see the same scene in an alternate form. Travesties is set in both his apartment as well as the then new Zurich Public Library simultaneously, while scenes from "The Importance of Being Earnest" keep intruding into his story both in literally as well as satirical form with Tzara as Ernest Worthing, Joyce as Lady Bracknell and Carr playing his original stage role of Algernon Moncrieff. Shades of Oscar Wilde, his sister named Gwendolyn is Joyce’s secretary as he writes his novel "Ulysses," while the librarian who is helping Lenin on his book is named Cecily. Gwendolyn and Cecily also play out the breakfast scenes from Wilde’s play around the tea table. A knowledge of Wilde’s comedy is mandatory. [more]

The Stratford and Shaw Festivals 2017

September 15, 2017

Apart from two years ago, when personal developments required me to cancel my scheduled trip at the last minute, the present summer marked my 18th consecutive year at the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake and my 12th at the Stratford Festival--both in Canada. (Stratford is about a 90-minute drive from the Toronto airport, and Niagara-on-the-Lake is an hour or so from Buffalo.) What any theatergoer who’s never been to either Festival doesn’t know is that each is the best-kept theatergoing secret in North America. That’s because they are true repertory theaters, and there’s nothing to compare with seeing the same actor in one play in the afternoon and then in a very different production in the evening. And for the most part, every actor in each company is doing just that: there are matinees and evening performances every day of the week, except for Monday, when both Festivals are dark. (Each Festival also has four different theaters.) [more]

The Changeling

January 13, 2016

The interpretations are also open to question. Although she should be demure before her sexual awakening, Sara Topham plays Beatrice as experienced and sophisticated which allows her nowhere to take her character. While the beauty and the beast theme is much in evidence, Manoel Felciano’s make-up as the ugly De Flores fails to make him the monstrous embodiment of the play’s description. Christian Coulson’s Alsemero is described by his friend Jasperino as asexual and he seems to have taken this as the basis for his character. As a result he is extremely bland, as is John Skelley’s Alonzo, so that we never see what Beatrice is supposed to see in these men. [more]