A Woman of No Importance is a play by Oscar Wilde, and premiered at London’s Haymarket Theatre back in 1893! You can always tell when a play is going to be good, if it’s that old and people still want to watch and theatres still want to show the production, which Theatre Royal Brighton are currently doing until Saturday 28th September 2019.
What is it about?
Well a lot is going on, but to keep it brief, Miss Hester Worsley (Georgia Landers) is a young American lady who is staying with Lady Hunstanton (Liza Goddard) at her lavish upper class estate in the English countryside. Worsley falls for Gerald Arbuthnot (Tim Gibson) who has just found out the powerful Lord Illingworth (Mark Meadows) wishes to make him his secretary. But Gerald’s Mother Mrs. Arbuthnot (Katy Stephens) has a dark secret! Should a mother tell her son the truth and risk social ruin?
The play directed by Dominic Dromgoole is split into 4 acts, and 4 difference locations, the terrace at Hunstanton Chase, drawing room at Hunstanton, the terrace by night at Hunstanton Chase and the sitting room in Mrs. Arbuthnot’s House at Wrockley. I actually think my favourite part of the play, was the musical interludes which were hilarious! Tom Jude as Reverend Daubeny was fantastic! During the songs (Polly Perkins, The Vicar And I Will Be There and The Dark Girl Dressed In Blue) which involved a little audience participation, the sets were changed which I though was a great way to do it, and the sets were fantastic!
A Woman of No Importance explores the double standards that existed between men and women in the Victorian era, and which to a point still exist in present day. Lord Illingworth (Mark Meadows) is a bachelor and an insatiable flirt who thinks women should/and do worship him. It also shows the social divide in class and English aristocracy and old Victorian values.
Lady Hunstanton played by Liza Goddard had some cracking one liners throughout the play, which had the audience in stitches! I loved Lady Caroline Pontefract who really reminded me of Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances, the persona she gave was that she had never worked a day in her life and was rich as hell which made me laugh, along with the way she was treating her poor husband Sir John Pontefract played by John Bett.
Most of the drama unfolds in the second half, acts 3 and 4 but I think act 1 and 2 were perfect to set the scene and to explore the different characters before the meaty story lines came into play! The scene between Katy Stephens who plays Mrs Arbuthnot and her on stage son Tim Gibson as Gerald Arbuthnot in act 4 was sensational!
The Creatives and Production team did a sterling job, as I said before the staging/set was absolutely fantastic along with the costumes which definitely made me think I was back in the 1800’s! Set & Costume Design by Jonathan Fensom, the list of creatives and production team is endless, from head of wigs to the lighting designer, all play a pivotal role in making the play such a success!
Click HERE to book your tickets to see A Woman of No Importance at the Theatre Royal Brighton, which runs until Saturday 28th August 2019. Shows every evening at 7.45pm, and matinee shows Thursday & Saturday at 2.30pm.