For Services Rendered, Jermyn Street Theatre - ★★★★ - Until October 5, 2019


With echoes of Chekhov's Three Sisters, Somerset Maugham's meditation on the world that emerged after World War I can seem somewhat dated and rather classist. Three sisters trapped in genteel poverty and "buried" in the country. They must deal with boredom, the lack of marital prospects and their sense of a dead-end existence. The responses are to succumb to materialism in the case of Lois Ardsley, to neurosis and fantasy in the case of Eva Ardsley and to stolidly endure an unsuitable marriage in Ethel Ardsley's case. Military survivors of the conflict are presented as equally damaged: overwhelmed by the world of business like Collie Stratton or given to bitterness and cynicism like blinded son Sydney Ardsley. And the older generation? Their response to the new reality is summed up by the Ardsley parents: the gentility of the mother who declares "I am pre-war" and simply accepts the new order and the father, Leonard, who mindlessly declares nothing has really changed and it will all be fine. Each of the actors in this large cast do an admirable job but for us the stand out was Diane Fletcher's wistful and beautifully understated performance as the matriarch Charlotte Ardsley. Viss Elliott Safavi also did a fine turn as Gwen Cedar developing a character which could have easily been completely one-dimensional. This production is well directed by Tom Littler; it is well worth seeing. And come to think of it, our present day political situation seems to inspire reactions not so different from those the Ardleys and their fellows have to their broken world. Perhaps, this play is not so dated as it might seem at first glance. 

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until October 5, 2019
Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm, Tue & Sat: 3:30 pm
Jermyn Street Theatre

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