Live Theatre, Concerts & Events

An Ideal Husband is ideal entertainment at the Studio Theatre!

It’s amazing how a play written 120 years ago can strike a chord — and a funny bone — with audiences in 2014. The great Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde had a wonderful knack for creating humour that has survived the years intact, and his social satire An Ideal Husband is a prime example. Together with The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband is considered a dramatic/comedic masterpiece, and Perth audiences will have a chance to see why when it opens at the Studio Theatre on August 14th.

An Ideal Husband, written in 1895 when Wilde was at the top of his game as a playwright, revolves around blackmail, political corruption, and personal honour. Much of the humour springs from his apparent disdain for the English upper class, who are portrayed as absurdly two-faced, saying one thing one moment and the exact opposite (to great comic effect) the next. Lords and Ladies are portrayed as arrogant hypocrites, strictly observing silly and frivolous rules.

The action is set in London’s fashionable Grosvenor Square, where we are introduced to Sir Robert Chiltern, a prestigious member of the House of Commons, his wife, Lady Chiltern, and several of their oh-so-dandified society friends. During the party, Mrs. Cheveley, an enemy of Lady Chiltern’s from their school days, attempts to blackmail Sir Robert into supporting a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina. Mrs. Cheveley possesses a letter that proves Sir Robert had illicitly made a fortune years earlier by selling Cabinet secrets regarding the building of the Suez Canal — a crime that, today, would be called insider trading. The ensuing plot twists and turns wend their way to a very satisfying ending, and great entertainment.

Director David Parry and Stage Manager Penny Silberhorn have assembled a terrific cast of skilled actors to take on the roles of various English Lords and Ladies.

Joanna McAuley and Carell Allen portray Mrs. Marchmont and Lady Basildon, two dizzy upper crust matrons who babble breathlessly — and hilariously — about money, husbands, and their social status. Mark Francis Daley and Krista Duff are Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern, the two characters in the eye of the storm caused by the evil Mrs. Cheveley, played with great malice by Meredith Millman. Lucas Tennant is Lord Goring, the dandified bachelor who is excessively concerned with his appearance, and with wooing Lord Chiltern’s lovely sister Mabel, played by Alison Kirkpatrick. Rounding out the cast are Norma Cummings as Lady Markby, an aging society type who bemoans the effects that politics and the higher education of women have had on married life; Brian Tannenbaum as Lord Goring’s gruff, disgruntled father Lord Caversham; Paul Joyce as the inscrutable butler, Phipps, and Alfred Von Mirbach as the butler Mason.

Of course, Set Designer Reiner Silberhorn and a team of costumers, lead by Patricia Parry, are busy creating Oscar Wilde’s elaborate Victorian-era setting. The results will be spectacular as always!

Tickets are available at The Book Nook, 60 Gore Street E. for $22 (cash; exact change if possible); at Tickets Please, which accepts credit cards and phone orders (613) 485-6434,; (a convenience fee applies) AND PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW TICKET OUTLET: Shadowfax, 67 Foster St., Perth, by phone (613-267-6817 / 1-800-518-2729) fax (613-267-3168) online ( ) or in person; debit and credit cards are accepted; a convenience fee applies. Tickets are $24 at the door, and students with ID pay just $10 at the door on show nights.

If you enjoy great writing, classic humour and biting social satire, don’t miss An Ideal Husband at the air conditioned, beautifully renovated and fully accessible Studio Theatre. It’s “Wilde” summer entertainment everyone will love.