Review: A Woman Of No Importance, Theatre Royal Norwich
The wit, and indeed wisdom, of Oscar Wilde entertains with seemingly complete ease, and with quick quips aplenty.
As ever, Wilde has a serious undertone to his waspish lines - the place and role of the outsider; the person who goes against the strict Victorian moral guidelines and values that he himself struggled with so much.
Here we have Mrs Arbuthnot, beautifully played by Katy Stephens, who has had a son, Gerald (played by Tim Gibson), out of wedlock, but refuses to regret it.
The show has numerous wonderful lines - many of them very well known and still hugely relevant today. The audience much enjoyed his pithy observations about Parliament, and the scratchy ‘battle of the sexes’ banter between several central characters was a joy.
It’s a strong cast, with Norfolk’s Liza Goddard on top form as the ditzy Lady Hunstanton, Roy Hudd as dotty Rev Daubeny, complete, of course, with a few music hall numbers as handy interludes, and Isla Blair as the somewhat bossy Lady Caroline Pontefract.
It’s always a pleasure to just wallow in the sheer cleverness of Wilde, and his unique gift at holding up a mirror to society’s hypocrisy. Not much changes - this was written in 1892!
The show continues until Saturday.