Graves & Stirling Take Wilde's Woman Home, 16 SepDate: 16 June 2003
As tipped last week (See The Goss, 13 Jun 2003), Rupert Graves and Rachael Stirling will star in a new production of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, returning the comedy to Wilde's spiritual home at the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket, where it premiered in 1893. The revival, directed by former RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, will open on 26 September 2003 for a limited season to 24 January 2004 (previews from 10 September).
In A Woman of No Importance, the upper classes have gathered for a weekend house party at Lady Hunstanton's country estate. The devilishly attractive Lord Illingworth (Graves) is free to flaunt his seduction skills while the ladies, including young Hester Worsley (Stirling) must hide their desires. When it's announced that Gerald Arbuthnot has been appointed as Illingworth's secretary, his mother's scandalous secret threatens to upset her son's success.
Graves' recent stage credits include The Caretaker and Hurlyburly in the West End and Closer and The Elephant Man on Broadway. His screen credits include, just-screened on British television, The Forsyste Saga as well as Mrs Dalloway, Different for Girls, Intimate Relations, The Madness of King George and A Room with a View.
Stirling was recently seen in Tipping the Velvet on television, where her other credits include Redemption Road, Othello and Bait. On stage, she's been seen at the Donmar in Helpless. Further casting for A Woman of No Importance has not yet been confirmed.
In addition A Woman of No Importance, Wilde premiered An Ideal Husband at the Haymarket, also in 1893. In more recent years, the theatre has hosted several high-profile revivals of Wilde's classic comedies of manners, including The Importance of Being Earnest and, last year, Lady Windermere's Fan, which starred real-life mother and daughter Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson.
Currently playing at the Haymarket is the revival of Ibsen's Brand, Noble's swansong production as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which opened on 4 June 2003, following previews and a run in Stratford. Starring Ralph Fiennes, it continues to 30 August 2003.
- by Terri Paddock