(The Magistrate | NT Live)
Timothy Sheader / GB, 2013
English version / Czech subtitles, 180 min
Academy Award nominee and Tony Award-winner John Lithgow (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Shrek, 3rd Rock from the Sun) takes the title role in Arthur Wing Pinero’s uproarious Victorian farce, directed by Olivier Award-winner Timothy Sheader (Crazy for You and Into the Woods, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London). In a similar vein to the National Theatre’s smash-hit classic comedies, She Stoops to Conquer and London Assurance, The Magistrate is sure to have audiences doubled up with laughter. When amiable magistrate Posket (John Lithgow) marries Agatha (Olivier Award-winner Nancy Carroll, After the Dance), little does he realise she’s dropped five years from her age – and her son’s. When her deception looks set to be revealed, it sparks a series of hilarious indignities and outrageous mishaps.
John Lithgow takes the title role in this fast, furious, brilliantly plotted farce set in Victorian London; he is joined by Nancy Carroll, returning to the NT following her Olivier award-winning performance in After the Dance. With his louche air and a developed taste for smoking, gambling, port and women, it’s hard to believe Cis Farringdon is only fourteen. And that’s because he isn’t. Agatha his mother lopped five years from her true age and his when she married the amiable Posket. Well, when I heard the new dad was a police magistrate, I was scared. Said I to myself, “If I don’t mind my Ps and Qs, the Guv’nor – from force of habit – will fine me all my pocket-money.” The imminent arrival of Cis’ godfather sends Agatha incognito to the Hôtel des Princes to warn him of her deception. But it’s also where her son has cajoled his otherwise staid stepfather into joining him for a binge. High-spirited carousing leads to a police raid and a night of outrageous mishap as the trapped guests make desperate attempts to conceal themselves from the law and from each other. Indignities escalate at court the next day where Posket, the police magistrate, must preside.