A classic ‘family’ Victorian comedy

Jonathan Jones dressed as Charley's Aunt  Peter Geary (left) as Charley Wykeham.in Sheffield University Drama Society's production of Charley's Aunt  at the Drama Studio, Shearwood Road from Wednesday 5th June to Saturday 8th June 2013
Jonathan Jones dressed as Charley's Aunt Peter Geary (left) as Charley Wykeham.in Sheffield University Drama Society's production of Charley's Aunt at the Drama Studio, Shearwood Road from Wednesday 5th June to Saturday 8th June 2013

Sheffield University Drama Society are reviving a classic Victorian comedy to show that there can be as much subtlety in farce as there is in satire.

Charley’s Aunt, first performed in 1892 broke all historic records for plays of any kind, with an original London run of 1,466 performances. SUDS hope to show that the comedy will be as popular to a modern audience.

The play is set in 1892 as two Oxford undergraduates, Jack and Charley are preparing to propose to two lovely young girls. A chaperone is needed or the girls will refuse their lunch invitation and luckily, Charley’s Aunt is due to be arriving from Brazil. But her trip is delayed so Charley and Jack begin a desperate quest to find someone to stand in for Charley’s Aunt.

The two students persuade another undergraduate, Lord Babberley, to dress up as the elderly aunt in order to provide his friends with a vital chaperone. But then, Charley’s real aunt from Brazil finally arrives to be pursued by Colonel Sir Francis Chesney, Jack’s flabbergasted father. Chaotic scenes follow involving the Aunt in drag and the real Aunt. The farce eventually resolves itself after a number of marital engagements.

Peter Geary is Charley and Jonathan Jones dressed up in drag as Charley’s Aunt.

The production, part of the Broomhill Festival, will be performed at the Drama Studio, Shearwood Road from Wednesday to Saturday.Tickets are £9 (concessions £7) and can be reserved at http://www.suds.shef.ac.uk/book.html or by calling 2559949. Sheffield University Drama Society has its origins in the long-established Staff Dramatic Society of the University of Sheffield. Membership now includes staff and University graduates and people from the local community.