Eve Best stars in this new production of A Woman of No Importance, launching Dominic Dromgoole’s year-long Oscar Wilde season at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre. It runs until 30 December 2017. What have critics been saying about it?
An earnest young American woman, a louche English lord, and an innocent young chap join a house party of fin de siecle fools and grotesques. Nearby a woman lives, cradling a long-buried secret. Wilde’s marriage of glittering wit and Ibsenite drama create a vivid new theatrical voice.
The Guardian: ★★★ ” It will never be anyone’s favourite Wilde play but at least it establishes the dramatist’s feminist credentials and, in Dromgoole’s revival, takes the mothballs out of the melodrama.”
The Telegraph: ★★★ “Dromgoole and designer Jonathan Fensom don’t make things easy for their cast (16 in all) by placing them in a cluttered, confining, chocolate-boxy set that requires the actors to manoeuvre very precisely about the place to avoid, as it were, bumping into the other confectionery.”
Radio Times: ★★★ “It’s not a perfect start to a year of Wilde, but the quality of a top-notch cast ensures this is nothing less than entertaining.”
Broadway World: ★★★★ “this is a confident opener to Classic Spring’s season – in which the Wilde greatest hits are yet to come.”
Time Out: ★★★ “Dromgoole presents a fairly trad production that wouldn’t have half as much impact without Best.”
Evening Standard: ★★★ “whatever other issues there might be, at least this play offers a refreshingly ringing endorsement of mould-breaking female behaviour.”
London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★ “It is the latest bold initiative of former Globe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole, who has established a new commercial and classical theatre company called Classic Spring.”
British Theatre Guide: “Dominic Dromgoole ensures that the evening is packed with humour, although occasionally he can be a little too keen to add his own witty flourishes to a finely tuned drama, already packed with sparkling repartee.”
The Times: ★★★★ “A nice enough excuse for some swish costumes and world-class one-liners.”
Theatre Cat: ★★★★ “But it bounces along, director Dominic Dromgoole allowing absurdity (borderline clowning at times) to keep the mood moving.”
Johnny Fox: ★★★ “The staging is crude, too many characters are ranged in an angular line across the acting area, one man drags off a deckchair for no apparent reason, and in an important and intimate moment with Harry Lister Smith as her son Gerald, Best is obliged to sit beside him on a doorstep where they look like a ventriloquist act.”