A Woman of No Importance

A wonderful script, packed with a cornucopia of Wildean classic quips and a beautiful set and costumes. The evening was set for real fun. And fun it was, for the most part. The cast were certainly on point with every line although at times a little too on point swallowing the laughs.

There were however some strange elements to this production, some oddly un-Victorian behaviour and manners, a few incidents of eye-drawing silliness at moments when one needed to concentrate on the plot, and a genuine lack of formality in some of the characters.

The music hall songs in the changes from scene to scene were charming and Tom Jude, Mr Hudd’s understudy, dealt with them with style and good humour, as he also did in the role of Reverend Daubeny, genuinely funny. Isla Blair is splendidly pompous as the Lady Caroline Pontefract as is John Bett as her downtrodden husband Sir John. Will Kelly’s Lord Rufford is appropriately cavalier, Katy Stephens suitably damaged and pious and Tim Gibbons looks every inch the Victorian.

But soaring above all this is Liza Goddard who executes the part of Lady Hunstanton with razor sharp precision and with, every bon mot delivered with imperious confidence no matter how wrong or rude she is being. Liza Goddard was born to play Wilde, the posture, the manners, the voice… by far the highlight of the evening.

23 September

Theatre Royal Brighton

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★½☆

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