George Bernard Shaw’s 1893 drama centres on the relationship between Mrs Warren (Felicity Kendal) and her prudish daughter, Vivie (Lucy Briggs-Owen). Mrs Warren is a self-made Victorian matron whose Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, is horrified to discover that her mother's fortune was made managing high-class brothels.
The general critical consensus was that Rudman’s “perfectly measured revival” is a handsome but conventional production that does little to dispel the view that the play is “an old-fashioned period piece” when it “can still, and should, be an electrifying dramatic event”. Critical opinion varied widely on Kendal’s performance, with some hailing it “excellent” while others suggested she had missed the character’s “undertow of bad behaviour”. The crucial mother-daughter dynamic of the play was also debated, with opinion ranging from “superbly played” to disappointment that it was not “a more searching, involved relationship”.
- Jude Offord