Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letting the Side Down: Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde at Bridewell Theatre


It's not often I feel sorry for the actors in a play; in this case a fine cast  and a talented creative team were let down by the lead. There's no hiding unsuitability when the perpetrator appears in almost every scene. Not that I blame Autumn Ellis, making her professional debut. Even allowing for press night jitters, whoever cast her has a lot to answer for.

I love a going to a venue I haven't been to before.  Bridewell Theatre, located up an alleyway off Fleet Street, had extra appeal: a fifteen minute walk from Cannon Street station took us past St Pauls cathedral, even more imposing when floodlit. Unfortunately we had to hurry past as the train from Lewisham was delayed.

Most of the audience were luckier and the mini-warehouse space with steeply raked seating was quickly filled. In fact, it was over-sold, always a problem with an unreserved policy, especially when everyone is admitted only at the last minute. We had a good view of the subsequent kerfuffle, as the entrance was directly beside the front row.
 With an author of Oscar Wilde's calibre, and a play I hadn't seen before I was anticipating a treat. There was a lot to enjoy. As the comment at the end of my review indicates, however, not everyone was able to look beyond a poor performance by the leading lady.
My full review is on the Public Reviews website.

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