Edinburgh Guide

To Hell in a Handbag, Assembly Rooms, Review

By Katie Stephen – Posted on 08 August 2017


Show details


Helen Norton & Jonathan White

Running time:



Helen Norton & Jonathan White (Writers) Conor Hanratty (Director), Marie Kearns (Set Design), Saileóg O’Halloran (Costume Design), Brendan Breslin (Sound Design), Sara Cretan (Producer)


Helen Norton (Miss Prism), Jonathan White (Rev. Canon Chausable)

Linguistically crafted as if written by Oscar Wilde himself, this insightful play delves into the unseen conversations of two seemingly minor characters from The Importance of Being Earnest.

In the interim of the action in the Worthing household on that fateful day when Ernest’s younger brother arrived from town to steal the heart of Cecily Cardew, Miss Prism (Helen Norton) and Rev. Chasuable (Jonathan White) had personal matters of the severest nature to resolve. The couples’ clandestine conclave in Chasuable’s chambers are a chance to see beyond the insinuated simplicity of their existence. If only Ernest Worthing knew – he could learn a thing or two.

Norton and White have taken an iconic script and found a play within its subtext – one just a juicy as the original. Lacing indiscretions through their pasts and presents, they have incorporated an impressive amount of references to the original plot without it feeling forced. Each indication that their lives are further intertwined feels almost as if they’ve plucked these moments from prior drafts of Wilde’s work.

In keeping with the exceptional standard of their script, the performances given are outstanding. Quick with a quip and dusted with the right amount of decorum, Norton’s hilariously outspoken Miss Prism is a delight to watch – as if Hattie Jacques playing the part of Maggie Smith. Subdued by this formidable women, Rev. Canon Chausable endearingly bumbles his way through the intricate speech, holding far more remorse then she, but not as much as the clergy would demand.

For any Wilde fan wandering the Fringe, this show is sure to sate your craving for societal wit and the triviality of minor felonies – but you’ll need to bring your own cucumber sandwiches!

3 – 27 Aug (Not 15 + 22) 12.25pm

%d bloggers like this: