01 July 2008

The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold

Miss Madrigal - Penelope Wilton
Maitland - Jamie Glover
Second Applicant - Steph Bramwell
Laurel - Felicity Jones
Third Applicant/Nurse - Linda Broughton
Mrs St Maugham - Margaret Tyzack
Olivia - Suzanne Burden
The Judge - Clifford Rose

Directed by Michael Grandage
Designed by Peter McKintosh

Seen during it's revival at the Donmar Warehouse in a chance returned seat D33

Celeb's in the audience (actually all spotted in the street outside) Francesca Annis (whose previous co-star, I saw last night), Lloyd Owen, Frances De La Tour and a journalist whose name evades my memory.
The Donmar is a wonderful space for most wordy dramas and a comedy such as this that relies on visual precision and perfect timing feels as though it were written for the place.

I feel that I must have see the Mills duo film but this incredibly tight and intelligent piece of writing is even more enjoyable with the reactions of an audience who are completely engaged with every moment. That said, I can't think of a medium in which this glorious piece would not work. There must be a radio version out there somewhere. I would even imagine a tolerable version could be presented at the end of the school term.
In the hands of this wonderful director and cast, a joyously witty and intriguing script is elevated to delicious feast for the eyes, ears and brain. I felt like a child in a sweet shop, not quite knowing where to look for the next nugget of thrill.