Felchlin, who is suddenly faced with having to choose between public
disgrace for a long forgotten indiscretion, or paying blackmail. The
other is his bachelor friend, an ideal-husband-to-be, the charming
and attractive Lord Goring.
Goring is really an Oscar Wilde counterpart, considering he's been
given most of the funny lines. The part is played with energetic
delight by Swedish international student Simon Vahine, who manages
one of the best English accents in the cast. To complicate things
further, Lord Chiltern's wife, Lady Gertrude Chiltern, (tall, cool
and lovely Tisha Lee) loves the finer man, not the real one, not the
slightly flawed one. That makes for the kind of lack of communication
that will sooner or later shatter any marriage. Lord Chiltern has
good reason to believe he could lose his career and the woman he
adores at the same time. In turn, Chiltern thinks his wife is perfect
and can do no wrong. And who can be that perfect forever?
Meanwhile, Lord Goring is constantly being interrupted in his
efforts to save his friend's career by the never-ending lectures of
his father, Lord Caversham, played expertly by George Mackey, who is
obviously well versed on the basics of how best to annoy one's
children. Lord Goring's father thinks his 34-year-old son should
settle down to the business of having a family, not knowing, for the
time being, that a sweet and petite young lady named Mabel (Krystle
Ganley), has already worked out that problem nicely, thank you very
Lord Chiltern and Lord Goring have to deal with bitter reality in
the form of the naughty and really not-at-all-nice Ms. Chevely,
played to evil perfection by the talented Elizabeth Walker. This
villainess rarely lets the sparkle in her eye grow dim, or the money
in her hand grow cold. Like the best of the worst, Ms. Chevely can
blithely excuse her thievery, and at the same time imply that the
person she's victimizing is a hypocrite for complaining.
"Morality, is simply the attitude we adopt toward people whom we
personally dislike," she says.
"The Ideal Husband" is crammed with clever one-liners, in the
tradition of Wilde's better-known comedy of manners, "The Importance
of Being Earnest." But "The Ideal Husband" has the feel of a play
balanced between two worlds, comedy and tragedy, and for that reason
it seems more honest.
This is Glendale Community College's entry in the Kennedy Center
American College Theatre in Washington, D.C., which means the faculty
must believe it will do well in competition. They made a good choice.
* MARY BURKIN is an actress and Glendale lawyer.