Choice: Theatre

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The Magistrate, Savoy Theatre, London W1 (0171-836 8888) 7.30pm

House of Cards made Ian Richardson a household name as the last word in urbane villainy. Delightful though it would be to have him on stage furthering this style of performance, it is even more pleasurable to see him in a role which explodes myths about typecasting. As the eponymous hero in Nicholas Broadhurst's broad production of Arthur Wing Pinero's Victorian farce, he begins the evening in stiffly erect pomposity and descends into deliciously collapsed comic distress. In the third (and funniest) act, his attempt to regain his composure in the face of lawless chaos all about him is often extremely funny. His stepson, the man who has led him astray and is responsible for his present dilemma, is sharply played by the alarmingly fresh and fleet-footed John Padden. Last seen in London as Puck in the recent Dream in Regent's Park and as the nerdy son in the Donmar production of Habeas Corpus, he's a talent to watch.

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