Davenport, Withers & Yelland Join Redgraves' FanDate: 16 January 2002
This Life's Jack Davenport (pictured), Googie Withers and David Yelland will join mother and daughter Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson in Peter Hall's new production of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. The classic opens on 21 February 2002 (previews from 13 February) at the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket, where Hall's production of The Royal Family is currently playing, with Judi Dench leading another all-star cast.
Davenport (who plays Lord Darlington) is best known to TV audiences as Miles from the BBC's cult series This Life as well as the ongoing comedy Coupling. His film credits include The Talented Mr Ripley, Gypsy Woman and The Bunker. He was last seen on stage in the Lyric Hammersmith revival of The Servant, which has been nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Play Revival (click here to vote).
Veteran Googie Withers (the Duchess of Berwick) has appeared in myriad films since starting her career in the 1930s. Her more recent credits include Shine, Country Life, Northanger Abbey, Hotel du Lac and Time After Time.
David Yelland (Lord Windermere) is an accomplished stage actor. Once a member of Peter Hall's now-defunct repertory company, he starred in Hall's hugely successful 1996 production of Wilde's An Ideal Husband, both in the West End (calling at several venues, including the Haymarket) and on Broadway. Amongst his other recent stage credits are Life x 3, God Only Knows, Richard III, Major Barbara, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. His film and television credits include Shackleton, Chariots of Fire and David Copperfield.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket has had no shortage of other Wilde productions either. Another production of Lady Windermere's Fan was seen here in 1997 while The Importance of Being Earnest and A Woman of No Importance have also had recent outings. In Wilde's own day, both A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband were premiered at the theatre in 1893.
Like much of Wilde's best work, Lady Windermere's Fan is a satirical expose of the English aristocracy, with plenty of rakish young fops, mistaken identities and scandal. On the morning of his wife's 21st birthday, Lord Windermere gives her a beautiful fan, as a token of his love. But, the Lady soon discovers, that love is not as secure as she once believed. Who is the strange Mrs Erlynne and what is her husband's involvement with her? Within 24 hours, the happiness of Lord and Lady Windermere is teetering on the edge of disaster.
Vanessa Redgrave's recent stage credits include, opposite her brother Corin, The Cherry Orchard and Song at Twilight, and at Shakespeare's Globe, The Tempest, in which she played Prospero. Daughter Joely was most recently seen on stage in the Broadway production of Madame Melville.
Also in the cast of Lady Windermere's Fan are Peter Gordon, Roger Hammond, Robert Hands, Richard Laing, John McCallum, Amanda Shillabeer and Clare Swinburne. The production is designed by John Gunter, with lighting by Jon Buswell.
- by Terri Paddock