Oscar Wilde’s stylish comedy that exposes the cynicism and hypocrisy that underlies high “society”, is creating more than just a few giggles at the Festival Theatre. This dangerous drama, directed by Eda Holmes, is the fourth major Wilde play to be presented under Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell’s tenure — completing Wilde’s brilliant, scalpel-like study of the world around him.
Taking inspiration from photographer Cecil Beaton’s celebrated Vogue fashion shoot and the creations of couturier Charles James, designer Michael Gianfrancesco’s set and costumes transport the play to the fabulous 1950s – evoking striking parallels between the decadent high societies of the Victorian era and the booming post-war decade. Kevin Lamotte’s lighting design and John Gzowski’s original music and sound design complete the on-stage portrait.
A lively group of aristocratic women converge on the terrace at Lady Hunstanton’s (Fiona Reid) country house party. Among them is Hester Worsley (Julia Course), a visiting American heiress; entitled Lady CarolinePontefract (Mary Haney) and dazzling narcissist Mrs. Allonby (Diana Donnelly). Marriage, affairs, divorce and, of course, the wickedly attractive and scandalously unmarried Lord Illingworth (Martin Happer) are all thoroughly discussed. Illingworth, who aspires to be a diplomat, plans to make the young Gerald Arbuthnot (Wade Bogert-O’Brien) his protégé. But when Gerald’s mother, Mrs. Arbuthnot (Fiona Byrne), arrives at the party, their lives are forever changed as she lays bare a long-concealed secret.
The Shaw’s production of A Woman of No Importance also features the talents of Claire Jullien, Thom Marriott, Jeff Meadows, Jim Mezon and Ric Reid.
A Woman of No Importance runs until October 22, 2016. For ticket information visit www.shawtheatre.com or call the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW.