Directing/Producing / Reviews / The Philosopher's Tale [2013]

The Philosopher’s Tale by Fauzia Rahman [published in Lamp and Owl Magazine]


I knew I would like the play written by Birkbeck alumni Fauzia Rahman from the outset when I saw that the lead roles had been so perfectly cast. Anthony Curran who had the honour of featuring as “Eccentric Uncle” in the ‘Thanks Tim’ section of the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony plays the part of Gerald Angel, a long-time married, clean-living and most important of all, truth-telling philosophy professor who is faced with an apparently insolvable moral dilemma that would have taxed Immanuel Kant himself. He has been on a weekend conference and on the final day woke to find a naked blond lady in his bed.  Most of us would be highly delighted with the find but the professor struggles with this dilemma and whether he should tell his wife.  He is ably supported by, Molly Angel, his wife played by Caroline Langston and by Clive Greenwood who plays, Tom, the professor’s neighbour and best friend who is Gerald’s mirror opposite being a lying scoundrel and a womaniser who cannot remember how many wives he has.  The play moves at great pace and in the style of good farce, there are the usual misunderstandings with players entering one door to look for another whilst that other enters the stage via another door. I thought Fauzia (the author) hinted at the ending much too soon but perhaps this added to the apprehension when Gerald’s son, Henry played by Ed Williams, appears with a blond, Annabel, played by Natasha Staples. Needless to say, there are many strands and confusions with Molly Angel believing her son is going to marry this woman; the professor believing that she is the woman who was in his bed; and Tom believing that perhaps she is his long lost daughter!  But these reversals all add to the fast pace of the play which is all the better for it. I liked the way the director set the scene of Henry’s arrival with Annabel on the stairs of the auditorium.  Although this was Camden Fringe, the play is in the style of a true English farce. It is well worth seeing and I understand that although it is sold out for Saturday, seats are still available at a very reasonable price Thursday and Friday – 5.30pm at the Tristam Bates Theatre 1a Tower Street, London WC2 (close to Cambridge Circus).


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