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Witty lines in fateful tale of palmistry; REVIEWS.

Byline: Rob Madill

LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, running time 2hr, until Saturday.

THIS may not be the greatest work to drip from Oscar Wilde's pen but it proves an amusing commentary on the morals of the Victorian upper classes.

Lord Arthur finds himself in a dilemma as his wedding nears. A palmist has told him that he will commit a murder in his lifetime. Determined not to marry with such a fate hanging over him, he decides to get the evil act over with before his nuptials. But whom to murder and how to do it? His ensuing attempts to fulfil this grisly prophecy provide the comic element of this satire.

Trevor Baxter's adaptation is perhaps a little too full of Wilde-style witticisms and also a little too full. His attempt to make a short story stretch to more than 90 minutes inevitably means there are times when the dialogue drags. But Russ Abbot, as the palmist Septimus Podgers, Royce Mills (the Dean of Chichester) and Barry Howard (Herr Winckelkopf) go some way to retrieving the situation by hamming it up admirably.

John Sackville in the title role is suitably angst-ridden to keep the plot on track amid the diversions of the comic turns.

Sara Crowe as bride-to-be Sybil Merton and Susan Penhaligon (Lady Windermere) try admirably to make their mark. But even though Baxter gives them some of the better one-liners, theirs is but a bit part in this most unusual crime of passion.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 10, 2005
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