Lady Windermere's Fan
by Oscar Wilde, directed by Pat Walls
Chelsfield Village Hall, 22-25 July 2009
Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, August 2009
Oscar Wilde’s comedy of manners and social mores, in which the faithful Lady Windermere, pursued by the charming but amoral Lord Darlington, is compromised by the loss of her fan. Should it be found in Darlington’s rooms, she will be ruined.
The Society’s third excursion to the Edinburgh Fringe played to nearly sold-out houses.
Scenes from Edinburgh…
Review in Chelsfield Village Voice
This has always been one of my favourite Wilde plays, containing some memorable dialogue including 'a Cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing' and of course ’I can resist anything except temptation’ and so many more. A new one to me was ‘London is too full of fogs and serious people’.
Like many of Wilde's comedies, it’s a satire on the morals of Victorian society, marriage and relationships.
The story concerns Lady Windermere who discovers that her husband may be having an affair, and confronts him, but he instead invites the other woman, Mrs Erlynne, to his wife’s birthday ball. Lady W’s fan, a birthday present from her husband, becomes the prop by which she is almost ruined and then ultimately saved, and Mrs Erlynne captures a wealthy new husband. All a bit like a modern pantomime really. And – oh yes – Mrs Erlynne and Lady W share a secret that Lady W must not know. (Mrs Erlynne is Lady W’s mother).
The Village Hall was privileged to host the premiere of this production which is being taken to the Edinburgh Festival, which is one up for Chelsfield!
Not one of Wilde’s easier plays to stage, the Chelsfield Players did it proud. The play held our attention throughout with generally excellent casting and believable characterisation, especially the three main female roles, Lady W (Lana Beckwith), Mrs Erlynne (Emily Edmunds) portraying a very callous lady with a compassionate side and the Duchess (Judy Ives) who seemed to get many of the best lines.
Newcomer Mike Wortley, in the role of Lord W portrayed the awkwardness of his situation like a true Victorian gentleman. The costumes (by Lestrine Wishart) were good, especially in the ball scene. The scene changes were slick as usual, accompanied by Philip Lane’s appropriate original music. A lot of work had obviously gone into the production. It must have been a real squash behind the stage to accommodate all the cast in the ball scene. I don’t think I have seen so many actors on the village hall stage before!
The scene in Darlington’s rooms when all the men return from the Club and gossip about all sorts of events past and present, and Lady W is saved by Mrs E was convincing and enjoyable. In all a good evening’s entertainment, a play in which the morals are as relevant today as 100 years ago, and we do like happy endings!
Review by members of the audience