Reflecting on the family influences which have shaped her rich and distinguished career, Miriam Margolyes returns to the stage following her turn in MTC’s 2014 production of I’ll Eat You Last, in The Importance of Being Miriam.
From the outset we are assured the title of the show is a cheeky reference to one of the great literature loves of her life, Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Miriam reveals a fascinating insight into her love of literature and its characters, along with those things that matter to her most – her parents, her friends and her work.
Director Peter J Adams has delivered a straight-forward production that allows Margolyes to do what she knows best, to tell a great story. Lady Bracknell and Miss Prism from The Importance of Being Earnest, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, Miss Flite from Bleak House and Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney from Oliver Twist – all get an outing.
They are joined with many personal stories. From meeting the Queen, her exploration of Gertrude Stein, the heart-wrenching escape from the atrocities of war as a child, to her new life as an Australian citizen – all reveal a rich tapestry of her life.
Matthew Aberline’s design is simply gorgeous. The clearly defined acting areas feature a chaise lounge and high-back armchair, drawing inspiration from the shows classical literature roots with over-sized books – is beautifully lit by Robert Cuddon.
Accompanied by John Martin on Piano, his classical musical interludes work the best. His musical buffoonery and acting skills are pale compared to Margolyes ability, coming across as an un-necessary distraction. That aside, The Importance of Being Miriam is definitely worth a look. Selected performance dates are listed below. It is hard to believe she is 73!
The Importance of Being Miriam
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Friday 20 March 2015 – 8.00pm
Season: 19 – 22 March 2015
Image: Miriam Margolyes – photo by Gavin D Andrew
Review: Rohan Shearn
Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season continues to 2 April 2015
Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, William Street, Perth
Season: 7 – 11 April 2015
Glen Street Theatre, Corner Glen Street & Blackbutts Road, Belrose
Season: 14 – 19 April 2015
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 21 – 26 April 2015
Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University, South Bank (Brisbane)
Season: 2 – 3 May 2015
Playhouse – Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Season: 6 – 10 May 2015
For more information and complete performance schedule, visit: www.beingmiriam.com for details.