(Laura Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/28.)

They’re delectably venomous, these two: dear Lady Sneerwell, industriously inventing gossip, and her friend Mrs. Candour, so diligently spreading it around. The main trouble, always, with Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s spirited satire “The School for Scandal” is that we don’t get enough of them.

But they are played to such delicious perfection in Red Bull Theater’s jaunty new production, directed by Marc Vietor at the Lucille Lortel Theater, that I wish I could beg Sheridan for a spinoff. Frances Barber’s Lady Sneerwell, all acid words and narrowed gimlet eyes, is the ideal companion to Dana Ivey’s Mrs. Candour, who’s as innocent as a poisoned sweet.

“I confess, Mr. Surface,” Mrs. Candour says, addressing a young gentleman, “I cannot bear to hear people attacked behind their backs; by the bye, I hope ’tis not true that your brother Charles is absolutely ruined?”


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