To Hell in a Handbag

Helen Norton and Jonathan White

Assembly Rooms

From 03 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead started life on the Fringe so why not an equivalent for The Importance of Being Earnest?

To Hell in a Handbag takes those eternal innocents Miss Prism and Canon Chasuble and puts them centre-stage. This requires a number of skills on the part of playwrights Helen Norton and Jonathan White.

Overall, the pairing from Ireland do a good job, creating a pleasant 50 minutes that pay homage to Wilde and gently amuse their packed audience.

The writer/performers’ greatest strength lies in the pastiche of the master's prose style.

Chasuble also feels like the same weak priest that their fellow countryman created over a century ago. However, this Miss Prism is fearsome and almost dastardly, which is a long way from the original or her greatest incarnation, the ineffably dotty Margaret Rutherford.

The plotting can be a little far-fetched but parts are entirely in character and can be very funny.

The target market—Wilde fans—will undoubtedly enjoy the experience.