Have a jolly good laugh with this period comedy

FOR a night of jolly japery, get on your horse and down to the Opera house .

The 1887 play, Dandy Dick, by Arthur Wing Pinero, has been revived, starring Patricia Hodge, who has recently played Miranda Hart’s mum in BBC comedy Miranda, and Nicholas Le Prevost, recently seen onstage in The Misanthrope with Keira Knightley.

Sir Pinero was a contemporary of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw and this lighthearted play centres on a vicar living in the country with his materialistic daughters, who has a shock when his wayward, gambling sister comes to stay.

He puts his principles aside in an attempt to save the church by gambling, and a horse-doping scandal ensues.

Written 125 years ago, it may not have a big-stage production, an all-singing, all-dancing cast or even provide belly laughs from beginning to end, but I found it harmless humour which made me giggle throughout.

The cast were superb with not one weak link in the whole show, my only complaint being some voices were slightly quiet although not through lack of projection.

Olivier Award-winner Patricia Hodge stole the show in the revival of the farce, playing bolshy racehorse owner Georgiana Tidman with a comedic performance, talking in horsey riddles.

Nicholas Le Prevost plays The Very Rev Augustin Jedd, a moral chap who is always preaching against the evils of gambling but finds his theories are tested to the limit with amusing results.

Rachel Lumberg, as Hannah Topping, appears only in Act Two, but puts in a particularly funny performance as a big-hearted housewife.

It may not be a dead cert, side-splitting romp to the finish line, but it’s certainly worth a look for a giggle or two.

Race down to the Opera House, Manchester, before it ends on Saturday.

Melanie Wallwork

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