Candida @ Assembly George Square
Candida is a brilliantly intelligent play by George Bernard Shaw exploring those ‘things people make themselves fools about’ such as maturity, desires of the heart, the virtue of moderation versus the passion of impulse, the fragility of self-image and a myriad other nuances that may colour a life.
Candida is married to a highly moral clergyman, James Morell, who makes it his business is to campaign for socialist causes. A young poet known to his household, Eugene Marchbanks, appears to announce to him that his wife can’t possibly love him as all he has to offer are sermons, therefore she must rather be with someone who worships her and can appreciate the beauty in life... such as himself. Despite the boldness of such a claim coming from someone whom Candida still considers a child and treats like a mother, Eugene manages to put up a convincing case and have Morell doubt himself, if only in the short term.
The script is littered with the sharp humour expected of Shaw as well as political asides and undertones which speak from his own Fabian Socialist outlook. White Heron Theatre came from Massachusetts to perform this work here in Edinburgh. The direction of their production is a strong point, showing some stokes of excellence in the positioning of the action upon the stage, although some of the conflicts lack a clear progression of temperature and regression of it thereafter. From amongst the cast, Candida and her mercenary capitalist father, Mr. Burgess, put on the strongest performances. Some betray the believability of the script at times by verging into the overblown. The play is a must for the lover of wits the likes of Wilde, Coward, Voltaire, Shakespeare, et al.