Gareth Thomas in Rutherford

Review from This is Wiltshire

Edwardian classic with a modern message

REVIEW: Rutherford and Son, Salisbury Playhouse. True to its commitment to reviving forgotten classics, the playhouse presents Rutherford and Son "an Edwardian gem".

First performed in 1912, the play explores a changing society through a family which has become dissatisfied with the status quo but struggle to escape the suffocating grasp of their belligerent father.

The family glass-making business was handed down to John Rutherford who, in turn, wishes to do the same for his eldest son.

His children, however, have plans of their own and cracks soon appear in Mr Rutherford's carefully crafted plans.

Interestingly enough, it is his daughter, Janet (convincingly portrayed by Ruth Mitchell) who openly criticises her father and gives credence to the writer's interest in feminism and her sympathy with the suffragette movement.

While her actions perhaps do not startle today's audiences in the same way they would have then, Gareth Thomas' Mr Rutherford is a pretty formidable character to make even modern feminists quake while Mary, the daughter-in-law's (Niamh Daly), brave bargaining might still surprise.

The pace was a little slow but the set was gorgeous period antiques and wallpaper, jaggedly framed by thousands of glass rods protruding at all angles perhaps linking our contemporary world to this classic.

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