Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Taproot cast ideal for Wilde play

  • Anne Kennedy Brady and Aaron Lamb in Taproot's production of “An Ideal Husband.”

    Photo by Erik Stuhaug

    Anne Kennedy Brady and Aaron Lamb in Taproot's production of “An Ideal Husband.”

The fashions dazzle. The wit sparkles. The charm oozes. The airs are pretentious. It is great fun. Yet, when circumstances get real, serious wisdom prevails.
Everyone gets something from anything Oscar Wilde wrote. Here, in “An Ideal Husband,” Taproot Theatre gets everything. It is two-and-a-half, fast-paced hours of Wilde at his wildest.
Blackmail threatening a politician jump-starts this foray into high-society Victorian England. The politician is the “Ideal Husband” but with a past misdeed neither his wife nor his public knows anything about. Appearance is all.
Ruin looms. Sound familiar?
At the time of this classical comedy of manners and morals, the industrial revolution was taking off. Institutions were reforming. Gender roles were changing. Self-improvement was the fad.
“Husband” targets the idolizing of role models that also was going on. The reason for it is the focus.
“The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves,” Director Karen Lund quotes from Wilde. We idolize expecting to be disappointed. It was true in Victorian England, is true in “Husband” and is true now.
Ryan Childers shines as Sir Robert Chiltern. Childers is the “Ideal Husband,” emphasis on ideal: the best and the brightest with a little dirt on the cleanest of hands. Childers exposes rich and famous up close and personal.
Debonair, nonchalant, quick on his feet in his head and a sheer delight to watch, that is Aaron Lamb's Lord Goring, confidante of Sir Robert Chiltern. Lamb convinced me. Goring is Wilde's alter ego: outrageous, frustrating and insightful.
Villainy, thy name is Nikki Visel as Mrs. Cheveley, the blackmailer. Visel enchants, scares the daylights out of you and fascinates.
All that glistens may not be gold. But this superior cast of 11 staging life lived in the lap of luxury tempt you to wonder. Tap does things to the mind.
Reactions? Comments? Email Dale Burrows at or
‘An Ideal Husband'
When: Through Oct. 22
Where: Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St., Seattle
Tickets: $27-$35, 206-781-9707 or