Charley Wyckham and Jack Chesney pressure fellow student Fancourt Babberly to pose as Charley's Brazilian Aunt Donna Lucia. Their purpose is to have a chaperone for their amorous visits ... See full summary »
Charley Wyckham and Jack Chesney pressure fellow student Fancourt Babberly to pose as Charley's Brazilian Aunt Donna Lucia. Their purpose is to have a chaperone for their amorous visits with Amy and Kitty, niece and ward of crusty Stephen Spettigue. Complications begin when Fancourt, in drag, becomes the love object of old Spettigue and Sir Francis Chesney. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This play by Brandon Thomas having its debut auspiciously in the decade that came to be known as the Gay Nineties is still one of the most popular plays works done in the English language. I venture to say that somewhere on this globe there is a production in some language done of Charley's Aunt.
This particular version and I count 10 versions on film going all the way back to 1911 stars Charlie Ruggles as the Oxford undergraduate talked into going into drag and playing the aunt of one of the people who talked him into it. Chaperones were a big thing back in the day and classmates Hugh Williams and Rodney Mclennan want him to be an aunt to Williams so that they can make some time.
Things really get complicated when Ruggles does his female impersonation so well that Halliwell Hobbes starts falling for him. Such gender bending proved to be enduringly popular over the years. I'm certain many a female impersonator got their start in a Charley's Aunt production. In fact I recall in one of John Wayne's B westerns in the Thirties Gabby Hayes plays a former actor who played in a company of Charley's Aunt and used his costume as a disguise.
The physical comedy is pretty good too as Ruggles has many a close moment in that female attire. The Jack Benny film from the early Forties is better known, but this production is just fine.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?