On Wednesday evening I went to see The Rivals at The Citizen’s Theatre with Raj and one of his old friends, B. First, though, we stopped at the wonderful 13th Note for an early dinner. Having only tried the Note’s breakfast before, I was looking forward to seeing what their early evening menu looked like and I wasn’t disappointed.
Unfortunately, they had run out of a lot of the menu items but everything sounded delicious. I ordered the vegetarian haggis, neeps and tatties while others went for risotto cakes and the curry – we ordered a side of chips to share between us, based on the claim that they were the best chips in Glasgow (the jury’s still out, but they’re up there). I couldn’t resist a salted caramel espresso martini to finish my meal.
Soon, satisfied and warmed, it was time for us to brave the increasingly bitter cold that has started to plague Scotland as the Winter months roll in. There was already a little snow clinging to cards this morning and on Wednesday evening there was no sign of things warming up. All the more reason to hurry to the theatre.
The Rivals is the first play that was written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and first opened in Covent Garden in 1775. It’s a romantic comedy, a comedy of manners and the origin of the phrase malapropism, coined for comic character Mrs Malaprop who was frequently guilty of this kind of mistake. The version at the Citz was hilarious.
The performances of Julie Legrande as Mrs Malaprop, and Jessica Hardwick as Julia were wonderful and ridiculous but for me Lucy Briggs-Owen as Lydia stole the show. She was manic, reality TV style, perfection. Having not seen the play before it’s hard to compare it to other productions but I can’t believe that it’s been done quite like this before.
The settings and backdrops were gorgeous, in particular the constant theme of images made not being quite true – mirrors with no glass in them, all the backdrops framed, the use of a polaroid camera, all worked together to highlight the importance of images and appearances in the play, even when the one being projected may not be accurate.
Having recently taken a tour of The Citz, I’m really glad that this was the first play I saw afterwards. It shows off what’s best about the theatre.
*Yes, on the day the results of the American election were announced. How depressing. Thank goodness we had something to cheer ourselves up with.