Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 16 (1985)
"A delicious effervescence of the mind"? It is not a quality that one immediately associates with George Eliot, whose name and countenance promise more of the sturdier attributes and less of the "fizz". Yet in a brilliant recital by Gabriel Wooir and Rosalind Shanks, many sparkling bubbles of wit sprang to life. Her love of jokes was recalled from books she laughed over in childhood, and the lively amusement she gleaned from the foibles of folk emerged from the perhaps unlikely pages of "Janet's Repentance". Bartle Massey from Adam Bede was not unexpected, but less predictable was the quick, dry humour that appeared in the dialogue between the worthy Felix Holt and the understandably irritated Esther. The dramatisation of characters from Middlemarch was also delightfully vivid: the bumbling prose of Mr. Brooke, I' the pedantry of Mr. Casaubon, the naive earnestness of Dorothea, and the gentle malice of Celia were immediately brought to life for us on the stage. So too were Grandcourt and Gwendolen, in a dialogue wittily pregnant with pauses for unspoken thoughts.