Joseph Marcell on stage at Malvern Theatres in School for Scandal

School For Scandal: Review

AD: Press Tickets thanks to Malvern Theatres

Written in the 1770s, RB Sheridan’s comedy The School For Scandal focuses around a doomed marriage between Sir Peter Teazle and his much younger wife. Alongside the main story-line are a few other sub-plots including a gossip circle headed up by the aptly named Lady Sneerwell. We headed to Malvern Theatres to catch up on the tittle-tattle.

About The School For Scandal

Recently married Sir Peter Teazle is having problems in his marriage. Confiding in his good friend and loyal servant Rowley, he reveals that his much younger wife isn’t as compliant as he hoped she would be. This has led to arguments and he even thinks that she may be sleeping with someone else.

Lady Teazle has in fact become embroiled in Lady Sneerwell’s gossip gang. This group of faux-friends spends their time engaging in one-upmanship, searching for the latest scandal – or the most dramatic version thereof. In contrast, Sir Peter and his Ward Marie avoid the whisper campaigns that are tarnishing their good names. Much to the consternation of Lady Teazle.

As the play progresses and Sir Peter’s suspicions grow, Lady Teazle decides that if she is to be accused of being unfaithful, she might as well make the most of it. This story line culminates in a brilliant scene involving Sir Peter hiding in a closet, whilst his wife peeps into the same room from behind a screen. The truth will always out in the end – for all the characters.

Four members of the School for Scandal cast on stage at Malvern Theatres

The School For Scandal: The Cast

The cast list is below, many of whom have some fantastic theatre and screen credits to their names. I also want to acknowledge the brilliance of Sarah Beaton, the Set and Costume designer. The set was simple but brilliant, with scene changes marked with fantastic use of lighting. The costumes of all cast members were absolutely stunning too.

  • Sir Peter Teazle: Joseph Marcell
  • Rowley / Snake: Guy Dennys
  • Maria / Weasel: Ayesha Griffiths
  • Lady Sneerwell / Careless: Emily-Jane McNeill
  • Lady Teazle / Mrs Candour: Lydea Perkins
  • Joseph / Bumper: Alex Phelps
  • Charles / Backbite: Garmon Rhys
  • Sir Oliver / Crabtree: Tony Timberlake

Our Review

I do have an unfortunate habit of booking myself a ticket to go and see comedies before remembering that I am unreasonably fussy about which comedies I actually enjoy. Quite often, I just don’t get the farce style comedy and find myself coming away disappointed. That’s why by the time I went to watch The School For Scandal, I had semi-convinced myself that I wasn’t going to like it.

I initially decided to go purely to satisfy my inner teenager who was a little bit starstruck by the opportunity to see Joseph Marcell live. I even dragged a childhood friend along so we could experience our own little 90s revival. Surprisingly though, we found ourselves rather enjoying The School For Scandal.

Due to the era in which it was written, the story is a little difficult to follow. From the start, the characters are talking about each other before you’ve really worked out who is who. Most of the cast members play two roles which did get confusing in places. We took a while to work out whether it was a different character or whether the original character had just got changed. A few of the characters intentionally over-acted which caused a few groans from the audience.

That said, there were also plenty of laughs right from the start. The second half was particularly funny and we loved the use of silence to increase the hilarity of already amusing moments. I may be just a little biased due to having been a teenager in the 90s, but Joseph Marcell really does stand out as being incredible. He’s one of those people who is just naturally hilarious, ideally suited to a play like The School For Scandal. I also loved Ayesha Griffiths’ characters, sulky Maria and wide boy Weasel. The contrast between them was brilliant and both made me laugh out loud.

Cast member from School for Scandal on stage at Malvern Theatres lying on a chaise longue

The School For Scandal FAQs

When is The School For Scandal at Malvern Theatres?

The School For Scandal is at Malvern Theatres from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th April 2024.

How can I get tickets for The School For Scandal at Malvern Theatres?

Tickets are available from the Malvern Theatres website.

How long is The School For Scandal?

The School For Scandal lasts for around 2 hours and 20 minutes including an interval.

Where and when is The School For Scandal Touring?

Remaining tour dates after Malvern are:
23rd to 27th April: York Theatre Royal
30th April to 4th May: Shakespeare North Playhouse
8th to 11th May: MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton
14th to 18th May: Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham​
21st to 25th May: Royal & Derngate, Northampton
28th May to 1st June: Darlington Hippodrome
4th to 8th June: Oxford Playhouse
Booking information is on the Tilted Wig website.

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