REVIEW: Dear Miss Terry, Rialto Theatre, Brighton - ★★★
My Dear Miss Terry, Rialto Theatre, Brighton. Thursday, March 31
R E V I E W
If Jean Rogers’ dramatized account of the epistolary love affair between George Bernard Shaw and Ellen Terry does nothing else, it illustrates what we have lost in an internet age.
Fragmented and ungrammatical tweets and emails will never achieve the depth or drama of a letter and are likely to be deleted upon receipt.
My Dear Miss Terry features Paddy O’Keefe, whose GBS is beginning to become a habit, and actress/author Jean Rogers as Ellen Terry herself in retrospect.
The letters, written in the mid 1890’s when Terry was separated from Edward Godwin, show both artists in fluent, sparky style, confident in a friendship safe from physical contact.
Shaw declared the ideal communion as ‘ unsatisfied desire’ but both the audience and Miss Terry know better than to take him seriously.
It’s intriguing for the references to contemporary theatre, to Irving, Shakespeare and Shaw’s womanising, but it felt slightly long, perhaps suffering from the difficulty of acting words out loud which were meant to be read in silence.
Jean Rogers is beautiful, charming and her voice is perfect: Paddy O’Keefe must wake up wondering if he really is GBS and will become a teetotal vegetarian on a bicycle.