Feb 12th, 2018
Directed by Kathy Burke and with a star studded cast at the helm, Lady Windermere's Fan was set up from the start to become one of the season's most celebrated works. Wilde's highly comedic play certainly showcases the best of British theatre with Samantha Spiro, Kevin Bishop and Jennifer Saunders all taking on headlining roles.
With this brightly lit and naturalistic set the audience were immediately sucked into the privileged world of Lord and Lady Windermere. As the lady of the house (played by West End newcomer, Grace Molony) prepares to celebrate her 21st birthday we don't have to wait long for the charming wit of Kevin Bishop, who plays Lord Darlington a man who is infatuatedly in love with the young aristocrat. With his overwhelming charisma it is not hard to love this rejected gent as soon as he enters the stage, as he tries to surreptitiously tell Lady Windermere that there are rumours afoot surrounding her husband and a woman of an unscrupulous reputation... Enter Jennifer Saunders as the bolshy, straight talking Duchess of Berwick who tells Lady W exactly what's what leaving the audience whooping in laughter.
Saunders brings her unique style to the proceedings. With her fantastic use of her walking stick, Saunders demonstrates the kind of physical and spoken comedy that has set her apart from the rest for the last twenty years. It is a shame that she only appears in the first act, but with a special added extra between a scene change you certainly get your money's worth, if Saunders is one of the main reasons you have purchased tickets... I won't give too much away!
Grace Molony certainly does well to stand up against a sea of famous names and faces and holds her own throughout the play. However, I did feel that she indulged in some 'overacting' in some parts, playing the 'silly little wife' too much instead of the jealous, tortured woman that she could have been, but perhaps she was masked by the likes of Samantha Spiro who played the enigmatic Mrs Erlynne.
This production certainly lived up to expectations and is the perfect antidote if you're in need of a good laugh. It did not bowl me over but, it enveloped you in warmth and kind spirit and I left the Vaudeville feeling content and thoroughly pleased.
View our show pages for more information about Lady Windermere's Fan, Vaudeville Theatre