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Details for the first two plays of the year-long season have been announced
Initial details for Dominic Dromgoole's Oscar Wilde season at the Vaudeville Theatre have been announced.
The season is a collaboration between the former Shakespeare's Globe artistic director, and West End theatre owner and producer Nica Burns. The pair have formed a new company together called Classic Spring.
A Woman of No Importance is the first show of the season, and it will star actress Eve Best. Wilde's play is about members of the English upper classes who attend a party at a countryside estate. The guests include a widow, her son, and an American visitor. Best was last seen on stage in the West End in Love in Idleness which ran at the Apollo following its opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In his LondonTheatre review, Mark Shenton said Best was "stunning" in the production.
Best will be joined by Eleanor Bron, who will play Lady Caroline Pontefract, and William Gaunt, who will play The Venerable Archdeacon Daubeny DD. Further casting for A Woman of No Importance, which will be directed by Dromgoole, is to be announced and the show runs from 6 October to 20 December 2017.
Kathy Burke will then direct a production of Wilde's comedy Lady Windermere's Fan, which will run from 12 January to 7 April 2018. Lady Windermere's Fan is about a woman who suspects her husband is cheating on her with another woman. An angry Lady Windermere then invites the other woman to her 21st birthday party. Burke is best known for her television work alongside comedian Harry Enfield (such as Kevin and Perry) and the BBC sitcom Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. She has also directed plays in London - The Retreat is set to open at the Park Theatre in November. Casting for Lady Windermere's Fan is yet to be announced.
Burns and Dromgoole are expected to announce further titles and interludes for the year-long season, which will celebrate the Irish playwright's best work. Lady Windermere's Fan premiered in London at the St James's Theatre in 1982, and, after he was asked to write a play by the manager of the Haymarket Theatre Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Wilde wrote A Woman of No Importance in 1893. The play received a run at the Haymarket in 2003 starring Samantha Bond. The next two productions in the season will be An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, with more details to be announced at a later date.
The season will also include a run of "lightly-staged performances" of a new folk opera by Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams' long-time collaborator) called The Selfish Giant. Guy is a BRIT and Ivor Novello winning songwriter, and audiences will be able to see this work-in-progress piece in April 2018.
Frank McGuinness has also adapted De Profundis, Wilde's letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol, for the stage. It will run from 3 to 6 January.
Eve Best photo credit: DeVinney (Flickr)