gives his five reasons why you should see Lady Windermere's Fan.
1. The Writer
Oscar Wilde brought a whole new style and passion to the conventional theatre of his time. Playful and inventive, his plays are both hugely entertaining and emotionally rich.
2. The Play
It was Wilde’s first big stage hit. It has all the elements of a racy thriller which keeps you on the edge of your seat. Behind the fast moving action and brilliantly funny one-liners is a dazzling dissection of the manners, morality and double standards of Victorian society. It is also packed with some of Wilde’s best known lines, including “I can resist everything except temptation” and “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
3. The Plot
Young, rich, beautiful and newly married, Lady Windermere seems to have it all. That is until she is visited by one of London society’s most notorious gossips, who suggests that not only is her husband having an affair with the mysterious Mrs Erlynne, but that this woman is about to turn up to Lady Windermere’s 21st birthday ball. Nothing is as it seems in this story full of intrigue, passion and deception, shot through with Wilde’s uniquely sparkling wit.
4. The Design
I am once again working with designer Ashley Martin-Davis. In the past we have worked together at the Exchange on successful revivals of Hay Fever, Widowers Houses and Pygmalion. For this production we are aiming to transform the Exchange into a Wildean space - stylish, sensual and alluring with a gallery of characters in extremely glamorous costumes who just love to talk.
5. The Cast
It’s a terrific cast and I’m really pleased that this production has brought back many familiar faces to the Exchange - including Lysette Anthony as Mrs Erlynne (last with us for Hay Fever, Milo Twomey (Blithe Spirit); Laura Rees (The Vortex); Samuel Collings (Edward II, Lady From The Sea) and Oliver Gomm (Charley’s Aunt).
Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde, directed by Greg Hersov, runs at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre from 16 May to 23 June.