(translated by David Johnston)
Venue: People's Theatre, Newcastle
November 2004
5/ 5
Reviewed by:
Wayne Miller
Having never experienced Spanish theatre before, I had no idea quite what to expect from this romantic comedy from Lope de Vega, the writer of the famous Don Quixote. In the event, I found myself devouring a new and thoroughly enjoyable theatrical delicacy.

After seeing an intruder in her home, Countess Diana sets out to investigate - only to find the intruder is her secretary Teodoro, who has been secretly wooing one of her maids.

With this discovery Countess Diana is overcome with jealousy. She finally confronts her true feelings for the handsome Teodoro and becomes embroiled in a hilarious love battle.

A segregated audience - all the women sat on one side of the auditorium and all men on the other - helped the play glide along. Echoing the behaviour of Spanish audiences around the time the play was written, a packed house offered cheers, boos and hisses at just the right moments - although this participation was carefully orchestrated by members of the company prior to the curtain rising.

As you might expect with a Royal Shakespeare Company production, the cast is faultless from start to finish. Simon Trinder puts in a superb comic turn as Tristan, the humble and loyal servant of Teodoro. Rebecca Johnson is beautiful and elegantly strong as the tormented Countess Diana. Joseph Millson rounds off a brilliant cast with his wonderfully passionate and comic portrayal of Teodoro.

But it was not just the amazing cast and the fun-loving audience that made this a memorable production. The sparkling set and dazzling lighting design help in no small measure to make this a truly wonderful piece.

Director Laurence Boswell's take on The Dog In The Manger has certainly opened my eyes to the world of Spanish theatre and I hope it does the same for many others.

(c) Wayne Miller 2004. For syndication rights, please email.

Stuff to buy:

The Dog in the Manger (Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation) Lope de Vega

The Dog in the Manger: A Play by Lope De Vega
David Johnston (Translator)

Three Major Plays (Oxford World's Classics)
Lope De Vega, Gwynne Edwards (Editor)

Feminism and the Honor Plays of Lope De Vega
Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano

The Great Pretenders / The Gentleman From Olmedo
Lope De Vega, David Johnston (Translator)

Lope De Vega, Tanya Ronder

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