The School for Scandal: Gossip & Spin, with Tweets Thrown In

Review by AA Abbott aka @aaabbottstories

Review: “The School for Scandal” at the Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol


 Sheridan’s delicious comedy, “The School for Scandal”, is bookended by a narrator tweeting on his iPhone in this hilarious production at the Tobacco Factory. Despite the period costume, with white wigs reminiscent of Blackadder the Third, the laughs are bang up to date. “Bankers used to know their place”, one character observes sourly. It’s hard to believe the play was first performed in 1777.

Image by Mark Douet
Image by Mark Douet

The action revolves around two brothers fighting for the affections of an heiress. One of them enlists the help of his gossipy friends. They in turn appreciate the importance of spin and dish the dirt on his brother to a friendly journalist. Their scheming appears to succeed, until the brothers’ even more Machiavellian uncle returns from a sojourn abroad.

school for scandal
The School for Scandal image by Joe Roberts

Meanwhile, the gossips meet regularly for coffee, vying to bring each other fresh news before the papers get hold of it. Queen among them is Mrs Candour, who can  deliver a five minute monologue of tittle-tattle without drawing breath. The scandalmongers show no shame even when, arguing whether a baronet has been injured by a sword or gun, they’re sent packing by the man himself. Naturally, he’s the picture of health, without a scratch on him.

Photo by Craig  Fuller
Photo by Craig Fuller

As always at the Tobacco Factory, this is theatre in the round, with the action unfolding mere metres away from the audience. “It’s like the telly, but better,” one of my companions said. The repeated gales of laughter from the audience were testimony to the quality of the production, from the esteemed Shakespeare At The Tobacco Factory team (I know, it’s confusing – they don’t just do Shakespeare!).

It’s on for a few more days, until Saturday 9th May, and there are still tickets left – get there if you possibly can! You’re in for a treat.