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Photo by Carol Rosegg

Long before Mean Girls and our current National presidential primary, there was The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s scathing restoration take-down about liars and marred reputations among the bourgeois. Lady Sneerwell (Frances Barber), once the victim of malicious rumors has taken it upon herself to inflict venom on those around her. With the aid of Lady Candour (Dana Ivey), the pair dabble in the affairs of the Surface brothers, Joseph (Christian Conn) and Charles (Christian DeMarais), their uncle, Sir Oliver (Henry Stram), Lady Teazle (Helen Cespedes) and her mismatched groom Sir Peter (Mark Linn-Baker). Truly unscrupulous characters are thrown into the mix, including Backbite (Ryan Garbayo) and Crabtree (Derek Smith) who will stop at nothing to tear down friends and enemies alike.

Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Red Bull Theatre has mounted a marvelous production with first rate performances across the board. Staging this material well is no simple task and, as audiences favor the now typical 90 minute theater treatment, it requires slightly more focus.  This clocks in at 2hrs. and 20 minutes.

Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Nonetheless, it’s a practical study in acting for students and  provides a pleasing high brow comedy for the rest of us. But hurry! The rumors will be put to rest this weekend,

The School for Scandal runs through May 8th at the Lucille Lortel Theater (121 Christopher Street). For tickets and information, visit Red Bull Theatre.