Jacq of all Trades, Master of Writing
Steam punk and sassy gossip flips Lady Windermere’s Fan
You may be thinking Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde would send you to Snoozeville. The very thought of Ladys, Lords, Duchesses and Sirs conjures up images of stuffiness and arrogance. It was after all the Victorian era, an interesting era if you consider playwright, Oscar Wilde's double-edged sword dialogue that's spiced with purity and sassiness. Director, Rob Horton, has put a completely new spin on this classic tale of gossip and scandal with a touch of quirkiness and a whole lot of creativity. Horton is to be commended on bringing together a super talented cast, each with an impressive list of credits. There are plenty of surprises and unexpected spins in both the tale and the visual and auditory journey of Lady Windermere's Fan.
The morally pure Lady Windermere, sweetly played by Chloe Dear, has come of age and is preparing to celebrate her twenty-first birthday with a grand party. She has been happily married for 2 years and has a six-month old son. She is perfectly content and still very much in love with her husband, Lord Windermere, brilliantly played by Stuart Lumsden. However, in a matter of minutes The Duchess of Berwick (Jacki Simmons) convinces her of that her husband has been unfaithful. Is the gossip about Lord Windermere's affair, rapidly spreading throughout London, true? Lord Darlington (James Anderson) had earlier pledged his love for Lady Windermere and boldly asked her to run away with him. Suddenly, a perfect marriage rapidly falls to pieces. Who's the mystery woman who's put a wedge between Lady and Lord Windermere? Will Lady Windermere take up Lord Darlington's offer and leave her husband and child? Finding out the answers is only a part of the journey you'll enjoy in watching Lady Windermere's Fan. Watching skilled thespians breathe life into these intriguing characters is worth your time if you appreciate quality storytelling by a master playwright.
Performances by all casts were impressive. They all worked seamlessly well together creating not only a beautifully re-enacted story but visual beauty in their movements around the stage and superb costumes that were fun and eye popping. Stuart Lumsden, gave a strong performance and was a pleasure to watch, as was James Anderson. Mrs Erlynne, played by Susan Cary, evoked emotions ranging from distaste to sympathy. She commanded the stage and the audience's emotions. Andrew Cockroft-Penman, who played Mr Cecil Graham, was a standout. It was clear that he has a passion for his craft. He was completely absorbed in his character and owned the stage – a delight to watch. With such a large cast it's not possible to mention the special moments contributed by each character except to encourage you to see for yourself what a talented troupe they are.
Prepare yourself for a visual treat of Steampunk costumes, a mind blowing movable set, creative lighting and sound. There are unexpected surprises, my favourite being the scene opening to the tune of 'Sweet Dreams' (Eurythmics). I loved it. Lady Windermere's Fan will be appreciated by audiences young and not so young for its cleverly crafted dialogue, superb acting and grandiose presentation. A great classic never dies. Book early as the Gold Coast Little Theatre has limited seating.
Gold Coast Little Theatre may be tricky to find but I encourage you to discover this little gem hidden at the Queens Street end of Scarborough Street, behind the Westpac drive-through bank, and adjacent to the Southport South tram station. Parking is available in front of the theatre. There is wheelchair access and an electronic chair to help those with wobbly knees to manage the stairs. On opening nights you get to enjoy snacks on arrival and supper after the show. There's a bar with an assortment of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks ranging from cheese and biscuits to chocolates and chips.
Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde
Cast Lady Windermere Chloe Dear Lord Windermere Stuart Lumsden The Duchess of Berwick Jacki Simmons Lord Darlington James Anderson Lady Agatha Carisle Skye Schokman Lord Augustus Lorton Robert Miller Lady Plymdale Natalie Stephenson Mr Cecil Graham Andrew Cockroft-Penman Lady Jedburgh Jan Alcorn Mr Dumby Noel Thompson Mrs Erlynne Susan Cary Mr Hopper Bailey Seymour Lady Stutfield Montana Dowden Parker Melissa Dawe Servant Thalita Fernandes Sir James Royston James Flett Servant Tayib Seaton
I think your description of 'Lady Windermere's Fan' as 'steampunk' is incorrect as this word is a sub-genre of science fiction alluding to such works as 'War of the Worlds' by H G Wells. The 'Lady' is probably more akin to Gothic horror as presented in the play. WN