it was interesting to see this play by Oscar Wilde just a few days after seeing Shaw’s play Mrs Warren’s Profession. Both plays were updated to more modern times, but Wilde’s play holds up much better and could even have been updated to the present time. Mrs Warren’s Profession would need a lot of editing and rewriting to make the shift.
Discussing the play on the way home, I wondered if Wilde wrote better women than Shaw because he was gay? Not being romantically interested in women, but clearly fascinated by them, he demonstrates a much sharper view of women and how they think and behave. Shaw is much more romantic.
Fiona Byrne was a wonderful strong Rachel Arbuthnot. Fiona Reid was a wonderful contrast as her friend, the clueless but nice Lady Hunstanton. Martin Happer was a deliciously louche Lord Illingworth and Wade Bogert O’Brien was the innocent and somewhat clueless son, Gerald Arbuthnot. Lots of lovely dialogue with interjections from the likes of Mary Haney, Jim Mezon, Jeff Meadows, Claire Julien and Diana Donnelly, who was delightfully cynical as Mrs Allonby. Occasionally the witty repartee is so snappy it stops the action. But it is fun!