My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Charles Edwards - Theatre - The 39 Steps (Tricycle) - reviews

[updated 17 March 2011]


"Charles Edwards offers an expert and endearingly affectionate spoof of a stiff-upper-lipped clubman as Richard Hannay, the toff who finds himself circumstantially framed for murder and then pitched into a plot to foil the plans of a German spy-ring, and save vital Air Force secrets."

Evening Standard
"Charles Edwards is dream casting as the suave, dashing, hint-of-the-cad Hannay, who soon finds himself the prime suspect in a murder investigation."

"Charles Edwards' Hannay - certain that to be white, male and English confers natural superiority - exudes sincerity, charming manners and perfectly groomed good looks (complete with pencil moustache) mixed with public school gaucheness. One eyebrow arches periodically to introduce a smidgen of irony into the proceedings as he runs along the roof of a train, coat tails flapping, adlibs an address at a political meeting or fights through the Highland fog with never a hair out of place."

"Maria Aitken's sprightly, enjoyable, not to say slightly camp, production is all gung-ho, chocks away and stiff upper lips, personified by Charles Edwards' wonderfully chisel-jawed, pencil-moustached hero as Hannay makes his escape having witnessed the murder of a German spy."

"In a perfectly judged performance that encapsulates the witty spirit of the entire evening, Charles Edwards is both terribly serious and terribly funny as Hannay, the veritable patron saint of stiff upper lips. Suitably dashing with lashings of derring-do, he's also a pompous, naive, imperiously coiffed, tweed-wearing, vowel-clenching, upper-class snob. Some actors lead with, say, a raised chest or a defiant chin: Edwards leads hilariously with his eyebrows. They seem almost to have a life of their own, arching in skepticism, shooting to his hairline in bafflement or hunkering down suggestively as he anticipates getting to know his less-than-compliant female companion. (He's handcuffed to her at the time.) His relaxed perf is balanced by a dizzying number of characterizations from the other three actors."

"Four actors play the entire cast of broadly drawn characters. Charles Edwards is the unflappable smoothie Hannay, with Catherine McCormack supplying romance as three contrasting women, including feisty Pamela, a prototype Hitchcockian ice-cool blonde. Rupert Degas and Simon Gregor fill in as everyone else from Cockney coppers to cheery charladies and murderous villains, slipping with comic ease from one costume and cod accent to the next."

The Stage
"Charles Edwards plays things very straight as the unflappable hero. But as Hannay gets in and out of a succession of scrapes, there's always a hint of humour - an eyebrow archly raised on a deadpan face."

"...the ingenuity, underscored by slick physical timing, is undeniable...Charles Edwards is a splendidly deadpan Hannay, a raised eyebrow his most demonstrative expression...this affords a pleasant, if far from profound, diversion."

Financial Times
"Charles Edwards is spot on as Hannay: dapper, ironic and manly even in the most unpromising of situations...Edwards has mastered the Bond-like art of looking quizzically intelligent even when his character clearly has no idea what to do."

Daily Mail
"As Richard Hannay, the tweed-suited Charles Edwards is spot on. With his pencil moustache and the upper lip well starched, he's perfect as the brogue male outmanoeuvring the Hunnish swine after him."

Sunday Times
"Charles Edwards - looking, appropriately enough, like a young Anthony Eden - vitally keeps a straight face throughout... All in all, thoroughly ripping."

British Theatre Guide
"illustrious cast led by Charles Edwards as the suavely inscrutable, lantern-jawed Hannay in a tweed three-piece suit...the square jawed savoir faire of Edwards as Hannay..."

Time Out
"Charles Edwards’ beautifully played Richard Hannay, his absurdly stiff upper lip matched by a slightly fazed expression that invites a titter at every turn."

Camden New Journal
"On stage for most of the evening, Edwards has the requisite 1930s tash, tweeds, a raffish tone and that essential hitched eyebrow."

Rogues and Vagabonds
"The anchoring performance comes from Charles Edwards as Richard Hannay, totally the British Hero and totally his own creation."

Morning Star Online
"Edwards's Hannay is a suave, lantern-jawed, pencil-moustached, stiff upper-lipped Brit. He captures the period style well and his timing and understatement are perfect."
[shame on Morning Star for getting Charles's name wrong. They called him Christopher! Terrible. Nice review though]

Hampstead and Highgate Express
"Charles Edwards is marvellously upright - making great hay with the cocked eyebrow and clipped RP accent of bored, caddish Richard Hannay, who becomes ensnared in an obliquely sinister plot to smuggle military secrets out of the country."

Culture Wars
"Stereotyped, derivative characterisation is in full force here, but to hilarious effect...Edwards, rigidly British in tweeds, wears an raised eyebrow and a quizzical expression through every spot of bothah."

New Zealand Times
"The bluff Hannay is played brilliantly by Charles Edwards whose wry humour, fearlessness and public school aplomb not only does for the villains but (naturally) wins the blonde as well. He manages (hilariously) to leave no lip unquivered, no eyebrow unraised, no brow unfurrowed and no quizzical glance unshot."


cityslicker1/etrioni @ blogspot
"The protagonist, Richard Hannay, is brilliantly acted by Charles Edwards who expertly maintains a stiff upper lip but who is endearingly likeable."

Gigi/efeelola"Charles was extremely 'dead-pan', and I love the overly-exaggerated lift of an eyebrow."

Harry Airborne
"this was one of the funniest, liveliest vital productions I have ever enjoyed...The audience loved it and so you could see did the cast.

"the stunning four-man (well, three-man and one-woman) cast play it completely for laughs - it's hysteriical. You cannot help but leave the theatre talking in the clipped, received pronunciation tones of 1930's BBC newsreaders. Fabulous."

Dominic Self
"Incredibly fast paced and entertaining and just... so so enjoyable, it sent itself up brilliantly."


City Slicker said...

May I humbly add the review my blog City Slicker to your list. Went to the 39 Steps the other evening. It was brilliant.

jellybean said...

I've featured a quote from your review and a link to it. I wish I could see the play but I am totally on the wrong side of the world.