Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mode Of The Man

Visited the National last night for Nicholas Hytner’s The Man Of Mode, a modern update of George Etherege’s 1676 comedy of manners. The contemporary resetting worked well, all swish bars and galleries and knowing references to Diptych candles, but it took an age to get going, never really taking off for me until Rory Kinnear arrived onstage playing the ludicrous Sir Fopling Flutter. The chief problem for me was Tom Hardy’s Dorimant, the main character and a philanderer extraordinaire, juggling three women without creasing his designer suit. He had the necessary alpha-male egotism but none of the charisma such a role demanded. Whereas Kinnear as Fopling, a figure of fun in tassled denim, gave a far more sympathetic and charming performance. This slight off-balance stopped the production rising above being anything more than a superficial study of superficiality. Something of missed opportunity I thought, though great fun in the second half.

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