You Never Can Tell (George Bernard Shaw) – Peter Hall Company at the Garrick Theatre, London

I’d read You Never Can Tell years and years ago, but never had a chance to see it performed. I don’t think it’s one of Shaw’s best plays (my favourite is Arms and the Man) but it has some very good stuff in it.

This was a very straight-down-the-line, conventional production. On the whole, I was pleased about this. I think the first time you see a play – and particularly if it’s one you’re only ever likely to see once – it’s good to see it done straightforwardly, rather than an experimental or innovative production. Obviously, innovative productions can be amazing, but they can also be abysmal; whereas a production that takes less risks may not rise to the same heights, but it also won’t sink to the same depths.

I enjoyed this production a great deal. The two big stars were Edward Fox (as the waiter) and Diana Quick (as Mrs Clandon), and they were naturally wonderful; but in fact the whole cast was very strong. There was sometimes a degree of artificiality in the way the lines were delivered, but I think the script does demand this, and it never went too far.

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