THEATRE REVIEW: Lady Windermere's Fan; Oscar Wilde Season LIVE, South Holland Centre, Spalding
South Holland Centre's summer season of live shows ended on Tuesday night with the third of four plays in the Oscar Wilde Season LIVE series.
Lady Windermere's Fan, starring Samantha Spiro (Mrs Erlynne), Grace Molony (Lady Windermere) and the unmistakeable Jennifer Saunders (Duchess of Berwick) is a tale of secrets, suspicion and suspense, similar to A Woman of No Importance, screened by South Holland Centre last month.
All the drama unfolds before Lady Windermere's birthday party when the sniff of scandal is spread by two visitors.
Firstly, Lord Darlington (Kevin Bishop) alleges that Lord Windermere has been cheating on his wife.
Then the Duchess of Berwick plants further doubt in Lady Windermere's mind about the faithfulness of her husband, Lord Windermere (Joshua James) who has been seen making regular visits to Mrs Erlynne's London flat.
With a young child added to the complex tale, Lady Windermere faces a stark choice of either staying with her husband or leaving him for the advances of Lord Darlington (Kevin Bishop).
But when Mrs Erlynne saves Lady Windermere from "the consequence of a hideous mistake", taking responsibility for leaving the fan (central to the play) at Lord Darlington's flat, the play heads towards a happy outcome of Lord and Lady Windermere renewing their love for each other.
All this happens without the secret that Mrs Erlynne is, in fact, Lady Windermere's mother ever coming out as she sets sail for a future life abroad with her husband-to-be Lord Augustus Lorton (Joseph Marcell).
Certainly the funniest of the Oscar Wilde plays seen so far at South Holland Centre, no surprise given Jennifer Saunders' tour-de-force performance of director Kathy Burke's song "Keep Your Hands Off".
However, Samantha Spiro revels in her role as a woman of low repute who, in her own words, "thought I had no heart but I find I have", while Grace Molony excels in the rapid switches between strength to vulnerability.
Out of the three Oscar Wilde plays screened so far, An Ideal Husband and A Woman of No Importance having been the first two, Lady Windermere's Fan certainly turns out to be the funniest.
The stage is now set for the final and most famous of Wilde's plays in the four-part series, The Importance of Being Earnest, at South Holland Centre on Tuesday, October 9 at 7.15pm.
Review by Winston Brown