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Stage Dragon Review: A Woman Of No Importance At The Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 30 Oct, 2019
Updated on: 30 Oct, 2019

By Tricia Marcotti

The Classic Spring Theatre Company brings its production of Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre this week.

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole, the play is set in the late Victorian era and the staging for this production is true to that timing.

Lady Hunstanton (Liza Goddard) discussing Reverend Daubeny (Roy Hudd) wife’s health in Oscar Wilde’s A Woman Of No Importance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

The play has four acts and the set changed for each of them. This means that the audience got a little extra with the play in the form of musical interludes while the set was changed.

Jason Carr, the musical director, arranged several music hall ditties from the same era as the play for Roy Hudd to sing while accompanied by Rachel Essex (accordion), Tom Jude (violin), Will Kelly (guitar) and Tim Gibson (trumpet).

Each of the aforementioned also had a part to play in the unfolding of Wilde’s plot. My companion and I enjoyed hearing the songs and by the stirring in the audience around us, I feel they too appreciated the songs.

The costumes were period as indeed were the hairdos. The technical team should be proud of themselves.

This production has a list of actors that many readers will know. Emma Amos was flirty with the men and gossipy about the other women as Mrs Allonby. Isla Blair as Lady Caroline Pontefract also indulged in a little gossip, but mainly tried to run every aspect of her husband’s life.

John Bett (Lord John Pontefract), spent his time trying to avoid his wife’s machinations. Liza Goddard as Lady Hunstanton, the hostess of the house party, alternated between a woman who did good by others and being self deprecating.

Roy Hudd made Reverend Daubeny come to life as a long suffering cleric with a sickly wife.

Mrs Allonby (Emma Amos) discussing life with Lord Illingworth (Mark Meadows) in A Woman of No Importance at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

But, even though the production included the stars mentioned above, the remaining cast members, were most professional in their characters.

A cad and a bounder – somehow that phrase sprang to mind – Lord Illingworth (Mark Meadows), was the epitome of the Victorian gentleman.

Tim Gibson as Gerald Arbuthnot, was first influenced by Lord Illingworth, but came to despise him after he found how his mother (Katy Stephens) had been treated by him. Mrs Arbuthnot, was a woman who knew her own mind and loved her son dearly.

There was a love interest for Gerald in the form of the American Miss Hester Worsley, played by Georgia Landers. Hester was quite outspoken but found that her opinions were changed by the other characters.

Mrs Allonby, Lady Pontefract, Hester Worsley, Lady Hunstanton, Lady Stutfield (Meg Coombs) waiting for the men to join them after dinner

If I have any criticism, it is not with the acting, but with the scenery in the first act. Maybe it is just first night jitters, but the house moved! It swayed back and forth every time someone tried to enter or leave it. When this lot of scenery was used for the third act, it swayed no more!

As the play continued, I found that there was action happening on the far right of the stage which was partially visible to me, I was on the aisle in the right hand section of seats, but not visible at all to my companion who was one seat further to the right. This was because of an artificial framing to the stage, which I have not seen at any previous plays.

I would recommend viewing this production as it is charmingly presented with good acting throughout. The play is on until Saturday, November 2 with matinees on Thursday and Saturday. Tickets can be bought online here or by telephoning to the box office on 01483 440000.

 

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