Review: Man of Mode, University Drama Studio

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The latest offering from The Company is George Etherege’s comedy of manners. Although in reality good behaviour is noticeably absent.

Our protagonist, the rebelliously rakish Mr Dorimant is well played by Craig Walton. Following Cromwell’s puritanical regime, Etherege is determined to talk about sex as often as possible through the mouthpiece of the promiscuous Dorimant.

Dorimant’s lovers, Mrs Loveit and Belinda are somewhat disturbingly naive in the face of his quite transparent, manipulative mendacity. He has a cruel humour. The excellent Alice Schofield as Mrs Loveit throws her fan in anger. He retorts, “You’ll need that to cool you as you’re getting hot.”

Fortunately, Erin Whyte’s Harriet Woodvil is a bit more streetwise and makes Dorimant work a bit harder to win her affections. She manages to stay one step ahead of him in the mental jousting. Dorimant turns from player to played.

The titular character, a bit player, foppish Sir Fopling Flutter, almost steals the show. Steven Garner is hilarious as a combination of Leslie Phillips and Lord Flashheart from Blackadder. White faced, wigged and clad in fashionable tunic, cloak, and pantaloons and with lascivious laugh and dim witted charm sidles up to the ladies with a hello. Well spoken in company, he comes out of character with a Yorkshire accent with friends.

After a short acclimatisation to the seventeenth century language, this is a thoroughly enjoyable outing. Information is passed on through gossip and mimicry of others. Walton enjoys accurately impersonating Sir Fopling. “Hey Yorkshire!”