Charley's Aunt

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 12-Sat 17 Feb, then touring


It’s probably to the detriment of Brandon Thomas’ Charley’s Aunt that, a couple of years after its premiere in 1892, another play featuring two young men willing to engage in a bit of deception and disguise in order to gull elderly relatives into allowing them to marry their intendeds was premiered. Such was the significance of The Importance of Being Earnest that the play’s immense commercial success (it was still running in the West End when Earnest began) counted for little to its critical reputation.

All the same, the tale of the Oxford toff persuaded to dress up as his pal’s aunt as a bogus chaperone for the amorous intentions of his mates hasn’t ceased to please crowds since. This West End touring production, directed by Mel Smith (who certainly knows his farce) and starring Stephen Tomlinson (you’ll know him from Drop the dead Donkey, Brassed Off and endless television comedies) as the ultimately woebegone cross dressing central character, looks like a seat seller on classical lines.

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