With Charade Bedlam has provided a production that treads the boundaries of fun well, a wonderful example of old-fashioned entertainment.
For the most part the excellently scripted piece flowed quite seamlessly, although on two occasions the dialogue became somewhat stodgy. The characterization aided and abetted a dazzling composition, with notable performances from all. From the villainous posse, hell-bent on achieving their end, to the French Gendarmerie - Wisseau allusions aside, each role had been given due thought and attention.
The cast never fully get away from a Hepburn/Grant dynamic, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. The use of caricature was supremely effective, giving the story a real sense of liveness. Absent of star-crossed lovers and sentimentality, Charade is a fine example of art for entertainments sake and I applaud the air of toungue-in-cheek present throughout.
The most exceptional part of this production was the fabulous staging. Three revolving boxes acted as the only set which rotated to morph the stage seamlessly from room to room, whilst the imaginative use of special effects and lighting kept the mood light and playful.
A dramatic finale, which took place in the upper tier of the church-turned-theatre, create palpable tension to end the highly strung chain of events that preceded it. The use of displaced audio added a nice, almost cinematic touch to and otherwise straightforward cast audience relationship.
Charade lives up to all expectations, combining witty one-liners with a reviewing and persuasive plot. Suspenseful and dynamic, the story constantly leave you hanging and second-guessing, keeping you quite literally on the edge of your seat. Promising for all those involved, I hope to see more from this cast and crew.