Scott Bellis and Tom Scholte in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of The Philanderer. Photo by David Cooper.

The Arts Club Theatre Company presents George Bernard Shaw’s The Philanderer at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. On stage through April 17, 2011.

I attended this witty and comedic production recently with an excellent cast, this wickedly wicked comedy, where Leonard (Tom Scholte) will do anything to avoid commitment—even get married. Desperate to escape possessive Julia (Anna Galvin), he proposes to Grace (Kerry Sandomirsky), whose primary allure is an emotional detachment that rivals his own. The private romantic lives of this young trio are turned into public fare as friends and family—played by Scott Bellis, Bernard Cuffling, and David Marr, among others—are roped in to help settle domestic dissatisfaction.

Anna Galvin and Tom Scholte in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of The Philanderer. Photo by David Cooper.

“While this is only the second Shaw work we’ve produced—the first was Arms and the Man in 1985—this is the Arts Club’s 500th production. We’re excited it will be one of Shaw’s funniest plays, and Rachel Ditor has assembled a gifted cast to deliver the sharp and witty language,” says Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd. “This version will also incorporate the rarely performed and unpublished original final act.”

Director Rachel Ditor, pulling double-duty as dramaturge editing the show to about two hours, says, “Once I read the original third act, I knew we had to use it. It is much less ambiguous than the published ending where Shaw seems to back away from making a stronger statement. Shaw’s most notable biographer, Michael Holroyd, believes that the original final act wasn’t ever published because the content was too far ahead of its time.”

“A fan of Ibsen’s advanced views about women, and an advocate for socialism, Shaw was inspired to write about the burning issues of his day,” continues Ditor. “Sexual politics were in a state of upheaval. Shaw had one wife—a possibly unconsummated marriage—and many lovers at a time when women’s rights in marriage were evolving and the suffragette movement was revolutionizing the political and social landscape forever. In The Philanderer, Shaw is in the thick of it, wrestling with the chasm between what he wanted and what society proscribed, and making the audience laugh while doing so.”

Written by George Bernard Shaw. Starring Scott Bellis, Bernard Cuffling, Anna Galvin, Amber Lewis, David Marr, Tanya Podlozniuk, Kerry Sandomirsky, Tom Scholte. Director Rachel Ditor. Set Designer Alison Green. Lighting Designer John Webber. Costume Designer Phillip Clarkson. Sound Designer Patrick Pennefather. Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs. Assistant Stage Manager Sarah Pearson. Apprentice Stage Manager Colleen Brown.

Plays at the Stanley Theatre at 2750 Granville St., at 12th Ave.) Tuesday at 7:30 pm, Wednesday–Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets are $29 to $63, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit