Gossipmongers are still at it – 247 Years On!

By Tony Flood

The School for Scandal

Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

Tuesday, 19th March, 2024 to Saturday, 23rd March, 2024

All images by Robling-Photography

The School for Scandal was written 247 years ago by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, yet its theme of spreading unfounded gossip relates to the ‘fake news’ we often hear today.

Unfortunately, neither this, nor an invite by production company Tilted Wig to “join us for a lightning-paced evening of romance, revenge and rollicking fun,” could prevent a lot of empty seats for the first night at Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, on Tuesday.

Tilted Wig and director Seán Aydon updated the play by changing the setting from 1777 to the 1950s, complete with smart, distinctive costumes and a row of telephones. But at times they tried too hard to ‘sell it’, with the result that there was so much tittle-tattle spread by various gossiping characters in the opening scenes that it became confusing.

Joseph Marcell, the only member of the eight-strong cast not to play more than one role, took full advantage of the fact that Sir Peter Teazle was the easiest for the audience to understand.

Marcell, perhaps best known for his role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and also seen in Death in Paradise and A Touch of Frost, perfectly captured elderly, frustrated Sir Peter who regrets marrying the much younger free-spending Lady Teazle, excellently played by Lydea Perkins.

Her mud-slinging friends Lady Sneerwell (Emily-Jane McNeill) and Mrs Candour (also played by Lydea Perkins) don’t care about destroying reputations.

Sir Peter is led to believe that his wife is having an affair. She isn’t, but decides she might as well do so if the accusations are being made.

A sub-plot involves brothers Charles (Garmon Rhys) and Joseph (Alex Phelps) – one good, the other bad. Their rich uncle, Sir Oliver (Tony Timberlake) returns after a long absence and sets about discovering what Charles and Joseph are really like.

The brothers both see the advantage of marrying Sir Peter’s ward, heiress Maria (Ayesha Griffiths). Guy Dennys plays both Rowley and aptly-named informer Snake to complete an enthusiastic cast which treated us to a dance at the end of the play.



  • Tony Flood

    Author Tony Flood, who lives in Eastbourne, has spent most of his working life as a journalist, initially on local and regional papers and then on nationals. He was also editor of 'Football Monthly', Controller of Information at Sky Television and enjoyed a spell with 'The People.' In his celebrity book My Life With The Stars - Sizzling Secrets Spilled', Tony recalls: “My work as a showbiz and leisure writer, critic and editor saw me take on a variety of challenges - learning to dance with Strictly Come Dancing star Erin Boag, becoming a stand-up comedian and playing football with the late George Best and Bobby Moore in charity matches.” My Life With The Stars provides revelations and amusing anecdotes about showbiz and sports personalities including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, George Best, Kylie Minogue, Eric Morecambe and Des O'Connor. Tony also writes in other genres and his crime thrillers have been endorsed by best-selling author Peter James. They are Triple Tease, Stitch Up - Killer or Victim? and Fall Guy - who really killed his wife?, and all feature compassionate copper DCI Harvey Livermore. In addition, there's a fantasy adventure for youngsters called Secret Potion and a book Tony has co-written with wife Heather, aptly titled Laughs and Tears Galore - short stories and poems with twists! Recently, Tony joined The Collective of seven local writers all contributing one character to family saga Driven by Desire, which is full of conflict, fierce ambition and passion as well as a dramatic kidnap. Tony also writes theatre reviews for the Eastbourne Herald, Brighton Argus and BourneFree Live, as well as playing veterans football for Sovereign Harbour Veterans. He is the oldest - and slowest - player in the team.

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