As Classic Spring’s year-long Oscar Wilde season comes to a close, its timely to reflect on what it has achieved. Did the season really add anything to our perception of Oscar Wilde and his work?
In Michael Fentiman’s strictly period production, it’s hard to see what we’re meant to care about, and what is supposed to resonate with us. It’s a pleasant enough thing, but there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about it.
In an otherwise charming and chic production, it can only be a shame that Classic Spring didn’t decide to take a risk with this interpretation of An Ideal Husband.
It’s all elegantly if slightly laboriously done in studied anachronistic style, delivered facing out to the audience as if emphasising precisely its decorative home.
A Woman of No Importance is the most Shavian of Wilde’s plays – in fact with a slight reshuffling of the cast the same company could present Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession also produced in 1893 and wherein the same issue of parentage is concealed.
At its heart is Eve Best: mournful and troubled in black velvet, hair tumbling, a humble church-mouse amid the quipping brittle socialites. Her wronged Mrs Arbuthnot is the emotional and moral core of the play.
Last Tango in Halifax star Anne Reid will play Lady Hunstanton, alongside Eve Best as Mrs Arbuthnot, in A Woman of No Importance at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre from 6 October to 30 December 2017.
Classic Spring, a new theatre company from former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Dominic Dromgoole, today announces first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre, starting in October with Eve Best in A Woman of No Importance.