For what it's worth, I'd like to voice my review of "PERFECT NONSENSE" starring Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Hadfield and Stephen Mangan. I'd like to, but I can't.
You see Stephen Mangan was home ill with pneumonia the night of November 18 when my husband and I and a friend attended. We had travelled four thousand miles from Florida to London to see this play. We (read that as I) were a little disappointed. I will give the man the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Stephen didn't know we were coming.
Anyway, the stand-in, Edward Hancock, was very good, even though this was his very first performance as Bertie - according to what the other star, Matthew Macfadyen, said after the play, as we cornered him like a wounded stag by the stage door...but that's not till later.
THE REVIEW. The play is funny and extremely silly...but...although Edward Hancock was very good, he was nowhere near the level of Mark Hadfield or Matthew Macfadyen. For one thing his voice sounded very strained when he projected - as opposed to the others who knocked you out of your seat, laughing at their performances.
Highpoints - Matthew Macfadyen with a lampshade on his head and curtains held up demurely before him, pretending to be some girl (I never did really understand what was going on). At one point he had thrown himself into a chair and was trying to vamp Bertie Wooster while wearing the lampshade - Matthew was, not Bertie. Anyway, his body was too big for the chair and he began sliding off. It was a great bit physical comedy, very subtle (unlike a LOT of the rest of the play) Also, at one point he wears a dress, blonde wig and the largest pair of beige pumps I've ever seen. You know what they say about a man with big feet... huge intellect.
Then there was the other butler, Mark Hadfield, as the incredible growing presence. In Bertie's fevered imagination the villain played by Hadfield kept getting larger and larger. Mr. Hadfield also brilliantly played Bertie's crazy aunt (who looked unfortunately a lot like Father Moretti, our late pastor)
(This is not from our night at the show but someone we know who was there another night)
Anyway, after the play the lady we came with wanted to wait for Matthew at the stage door so I could get his autograph, (and I hated to see the evening end) so we did. I have to admit I loved him as Darcy in Pride and Prejudice - huge crush - but there is something so demeaning to me in waiting for an actor to get his autograph (which is just an excuse to speak with someone famous). I tried to hide against a wall but then Matthew came out and people were insisting he sign things and have his picture taken with them. He had a smile pasted on the whole time but he was a stranger and we were strangers and the whole thing was borderline pathetic. I mean, would he wait for fifteen minutes to get my autograph? I don't think so, even though my book, DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM, was chosen by Orange County California as a great summer read in 2011. But I digress...
So, then these girls shoved their phone in my husband's face and told him to take their picture. My husband has eye trouble so he gave me the phone and that was when I had to come out of hiding. First of all the girls were shouting instructions to me that I didn't understand and then Matthew had to come up and show me what to do with the camera and then I pointed the phone in the wrong direction - at me - which made everyone laugh and he had to come up and explain it to me all over again.
How humiliating. I've taken photos before with a phone but being next to a celebrity had fried my brains. I have to note that he did not have a similar reaction to speaking with me, although my book, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM BOOK II, is really very good. Chances are he hasn't read it yet.
And just as I knew it would, meeting Darcy in person didn't happen. I met Matthew Macfadyen, a human being, a nice man, very young - about twelve - and, a man who wanted to be on his way but was too polite to say no to anyone.*****
As I said before, (well, not to you, but to someone else) it doesn't do to meet these people in person. Something is lost, some mystery, their 'aura' is eradicated by being human.
The moment someone becomes a 'human' they have flaws; and, then the fantasy is over...
**** when I say he looks about twelve, I mean that in relation to how very, very old I am. I may be older than his mother for heaven's sake. I mean no disparagement to his appearance. In person he looks younger than he does on screen, and even handsomer, if that's possible. Without a character to play his features are relaxed and, well, lovely.