Sardines magazine review
‘The Royal Baccarat Scandal’ tells the true story of Sir William Gordon-Cumming and his role in what was also known as The Tranby Croft Scandal. The basic premise is that Sir William, a close friend of the Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) took part in a game of Baccarat – a gambling game that was illegal in England – and was accused of cheating. Despite his repeated denial of any wrongdoing, he is persuaded to sign a pledge that he will never play cards again, in return for the matter to be hushed up.
The play is set 30 years after the scandal, with Sir William telling his daughter all about the events that led to his disgrace. In the role of Sir William, Nigel Dams gave a very powerful performance – no mean feat, given that he rarely left the stage. As his daughter (and narrator for the piece), Alison Nicol was superbly relaxed, engaging and a true joy to watch. Robert Sheppard, playing the Prince of Wales was every inch the royal philanderer. Other mentions should go to Ian Nichols (Sir Edward Clarke), Alan Arlington (Sir Charles Russell) and Derek Watts (Lieutenant-General Owen Williams) for excellent performances. In fact, I couldn’t fault any cast member at all.
This play is quite a challenging one to pull off and though long, it isn’t in any way dull or boring – if done right. Guildburys did get it right. The cast, crew and staging all came together to provide a very entertaining evening. Guildburys (and director Gilly Fick) have every reason to be very proud of this production. Well done indeed!! Nicole Rose
Review from NODA ( National Operatic and Drama Association) click below
“Fantastic – a truly captivating plot brought to life by charismatic performances. The pace moved at a lick to cover the extensive scope and full dialogue of the complex main and sub-plots , then softened at the thoughtful, tense and emotional moments to draw the audience in. The scenes are each recollections from Sir William Gordon Cumming as he explains his past tribulations to his daughter in answer to her question as to why the room fell silent when she had revealed her maiden name in a society party.This is a sensitive treatment of an old man confiding for the first time and the story flowed seamlessly as one memory evoked another episode while the scandal unfolded. The audience’s perspective was moved on a see-saw journey seen alternately through the eyes of an offender and a victim. I felt truly privileged to have been in the audience for intimate and powerful and moving drama. The characters were real, the situations captivating and the conflicting emotions were expressed with dexterity.” G. Ayshford
“Congratulations to all the cast of The Royal Baccarat Scandal. My husband and I really enjoyed the play. Great performances from everyone. I thought Nigel Dams’ performance of Sir William Gordon Cumming was amazing. A. Davey
“Show was absolutely brilliant – loved it. And a unique finale in having to cast a vote” M. Clarke
“A captivating experience, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.” M. Fisher
“Thanks again, Guildburys, for an excellent production of a super, interesting play. As always, a good choice of production, and a brilliant cast. How do you manage to keep up such a high standard? Been coming for years, not seen a duff one yet!!” P. Surrey