I'm a huge Fan of Lady Windermere

By Kay Johal
Friday 23 March 2018

Oscar Wilde Season is underway in London. Playing at the Vaudeville Theatre, Lady Windermere’s Fan is taking its turn, this time directed by the delightful Kathy Burke. Given that this script is well over 100 years old, can it have new life breathed into it? Of course, one draw is the superb Jennifer Saunders, back in the West End after 25 years. It’s got a stellar cast, an inviting venue and of course Ms Burke directing it – what is not to love? I set out below five reasons this needs to be seen before it disappears from the stage.

I'm a huge Fan of Lady Windermere
  1. Most people know of Wilde’s acerbic wit and this hasn’t been lost in translation. Wilde’s original interpretation is emotive and at times sombre. Burke has certainly lightened the atmosphere, taking a different perspective of the piece and running wholly and unashamedly with it. Kathy Burke has made Lady Windermere’s Fan accessible for all – from the sixth formers who studied it at school to their grandparents.
  2. The cast. The lure (in the main) will be Jennifer Saunders. She is not on stage for long; for the time she is her take on the Duchess is light-hearted and fun. She has the droll mannerisms, the nonchalant nod of the head and the side-eye glances portraying much more than her scripted words.  Her ‘naughty’ interval song was a highlight! Alongside her is a cohesive cast, Kevin Bishop, Samantha Spiro and David O’Reilly being the standouts – Mr O’Reilly’s role as Cecil would indeed make Oscar himself proud. Bravo, young sir.
  3. It was broadcast earlier this week in cinemas across the UK and Ireland, such is the popularity of it. I actually like the idea of this, being accessible to all who cannot get to the West End. It enabled everyone to see how aesthetically stunning the set is, the costumes, very elegant and beautiful; it is a joy to observe. It is a shame that at the cinema, you are unable to buy the programme!
  4. It is very topical in light of the gender equality, #metoo and equal pay movements. The women in the lead roles make the play. It centres wholly and completely around them.  It is an acknowledgement of women being able to do everything that a man can do, even though set in a period where roles were very much defined by gender.
  5. The masterful lines that everyone knows ‘I can resist everything except temptation’ and ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’. In an age where meaningful quotes are hashtagged every day, Oscar Wilde has succeeded in ensuring that his work is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

Closing on 7 April, Lady Windermere’s Fan tickets are a must-have. Book them here, and don’t miss out on the rest of the Oscar Wilde Season.



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Kay Johal

Kay can often be found frequenting the bright lights and golden-paved streets of London, having always had a love of theatre. She particularly enjoys the musicals, ranging from Phantom of the Opera to Jersey Boys, to plays such as No Man's Land.  She is lucky enough to have been able to see a wide range of shows and looks forward to being able to further immerse herself in all the West End has to offer.  Kay is a deep thinker with an honest and very real passion for writing and is particularly excited to be a part of the team so she can share her enthusiasm and views with you all on London Theatre Direct. You can also find her on Instagram.

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