New Theatre revives Shaw comedy


By Allen Myers

SYDNEY — As was his way, George Bernard Shaw provided The Misalliance with a preface as long as the play itself, in which he systematically set out his views on the defects of the English family and English education. The preface, titled "Parents and children", has plenty of the Shaw wit, but the play says it all even more entertainingly.

The New Theatre is presenting this very funny play from September 7 to October 26 (Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30, Sundays at 5.30), directed by Kevin Jackson. It's seen as "the first of the British tradition that travelled through the Absurdists to the ultimate humour of the Monty Python troupe".

Although most of Shaw's plays have settings which no longer exist, they remain very contemporary — probably because the hypocrisies and evasions which he satirises are still with us. The Misalliance has almost more targets than one could aim a barb at: family, education, courtship rituals and sexual mores, most of the classes of English society — only Polish acrobats emerge from the script smelling of roses, or at least of oranges.

This seems an ideal comedy piece for Australia's most politically and socially aware theatre company. It's probably a good idea to book now (9519 3403).