To Hell in a Handbag

Helen Norton and Jonathan White
Assembly Rooms
to

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.

Philip Fisher