A Woman of No Importance
Political satire, period costumes and a good old fashioned sing song - what's not to love from this Oscar Wilde classic production?
I’m a big fan of Oscar Wilde’s witty intelligent satirical humour so I’ve been looking forward to A Woman of No Importance since I heard it was coming to the Theatre Royal Norwich.
Oscar Wilde’s plays are intimate, typically small productions played out within equally small sets. No smoke and mirrors to hide behind here, just classic Georgian country house architecture and a few chairs – every gesture and word is crucial and it takes an excellent theatre company to get it right. Luckily, The Classic Spring Theatre Company absolutely nailed it.
The 14 cast members played their parts brilliantly – no surprise here really given that they included TV and theatre royalty such as Lisa Goddard, Isla Blair and Roy Hudd (yes, me too!)
If you like a bit of period drama, you’ll love the attention to detail in the costumes, hair and accessories. The three sets were en point and captured the mood of privilege perfectly.
The story follows wealthy widowed socialite, Lady Hunstanton (played brilliantly by Liza Goddard) hosting a weekend get-together of friends – all of whom are of course “very important”. Upper-class, predjudiced and feckless – every line is a witticism designed to show how completely unaware they are of their own shallowness. Probably the best known line from the play on fox hunting: “The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” captures this brilliantly.
Wilde’s plays are a satirical commentary on important political issues such as equality, sexism and the class system – making this play as relevant today as when it was written.
The ‘Woman of no importance’ – Mrs Arbuthnot played by Katy Stevens is unlike the other characters, she has no money, social status and as single mother in 1892 – a scarlet woman! She does however, have depth, character and strong morals and it’s the differences between Mrs Arbuthnot and the other guests that Wilde exposes so brilliantly. Spoiler alert!! It turns out that Mrs Arbuthnot is indeed of a greater importance than the rest of them.