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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stylish social comedy Our Betters at the Shaw Festival

“If one wants to be successful in London, one must either have looks, wit, or a bank balance.”
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario -- Playing now at the Shaw Festival’s 52nd season is W. Somerset Maugham’s glittering satire Our Betters at the Royal George Theatre.

 Morris Panych brings his usual directorial panache to this brilliant “take no prisoners” portrait of marriage — where English estates and titled aristocracy are bought with the traditional “I do” and a large American dowry. Longtime collaborators Ken MacDonald and Charlotte Dean design the sets and costumes, respectively.

When pretty young American Bessie Saunders travels to London to stay with her sister Pearl, now the sophisticated and worldly Lady Grayston, she is introduced to women of wealth who have also successfully made the marriage-for-status transaction.
It doesn’t take long for Bessie to discover the high price paid for ambition, while witnessing first-hand the desperate measures and outrageous strategies all must make to advance their cause. The question Maugham ultimately raises with his wicked wit is who is really better off here — the haves, the have-nots or neither?

The Shaw’s production of Our Betters features Claire Jullien as Lady Grayston, Julia Course as Bessie Saunders, Catherine McGregor as Princess Flora della Cercola and Wade Bogert-O’Brien as Fleming Harvey. Returning this season is Laurie Paton as Minnie, the Duchesse de Surennes.

Our Betters is the third Maugham work to appear at the Festival, continuing the cycle successfully launched with The Circle in 2007 and The Constant Wife in 2005.

About Our Betters
Until October 27
Our Betters is on stage at the Royal George Theatre (85 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Neil Barclay                                       
Anthony Bekenn                               
Wade Bogert-O’Brien                        
Julia Course                                       
Charlie Gallant                                  
Claire Jullien                                      
Lorne Kennedy                                  
Catherine McGregor                         
Laurie Paton                                      
James Pendarves                               
Ben Sanders                                      

Creative Team:
Morris Panych                                    
Ken MacDonald                                 
Charlotte Dean                                  
Alan Brodie                                       
Diane Konkin                                     
Leigh McClymont                               

Thornton Clay
Fleming Harvey
Elizabeth (Bessie) Saunders
Anthony (Tony) Paxton
Lady Grayston (Pearl)
Arthur Fenwick
Princess della Cercola (Flora)
Duchesse de Surennes (Minnie)
Lord Bleane

Set Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
The Shaw Festival’s 2013 season begins April 3 runs until October 27 and features 10 productions presented on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. For more information on our 2013 season, performance schedule and ticket information, please visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-SHAW.


The Shaw Festival is a theatre company inspired by the work of Bernard Shaw. We produce plays from and about his era and contemporary plays that share Shaw’s provocative exploration of society and celebration of humanity.

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