Lady Windermere's Fan at The Tabard Theatre

Penny Flood loved the 1930s version of Oscar Wilde's play


September 23 to October 11

Tues - Sat 7:30pm
Mats Sat 4.00pm
Tickets £16.00 (£14 concessions)

Book online at or 0208 995 6035 The Tabard Box Office.

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This is a smashing production, and a great opportunity to see of one of Oscar Wilde’s classics.
It’s the work of Ruby in the Dust, the Chiswick-based team who delivered the terrific Great Gatsby at the Riverside. If you saw that you’ll have an idea what to expect. Ruby in the Dust take a great work, tweak it and tuck it add some music and stamp their mark on it without losing any of the spirit of the original. Here Wilde’s cast of 16 has been cut back to seven, some have been merged and others removed altogether so it’s all very neat and moves along at a cracking pace.

(l-r)Giles Davies (Cecil Graham) and Simon Victor (Lord Darlington)

It’s the story of secrets, lies and snobbery with a hint of sex among the English upper classes. All the Wildean one-liners are there and it’s very funny. Wilde liked to mock English society and their pomposity and self righteous-morality, and none of his barbs are lost here.
The fan of the title is Lady Windermere’s birthday present from her husband and it turns out to the catalyst for much of the action when it turns up in the wrong place.

The innocent, but tougher than she looks, Lady Windermere (Kelly Burke) has discovered that her well-meaning but slightly hopeless husband (William St. Clair), has been seeing another woman, the beautiful, mysterious Mrs Erlynne (Ruth Redman) who is being wooed by the also hopeless Lord Augustus (James Lloyd Pegg). Meanwhile, Lord Darlington (Simon Victor) has fallen in love with Lady Windermere and the whole thing moved along by the deliciously gossipy Duchess (Jo Ashe who later turns up as the maid) and Lord Windermere’s friend Cecil Graham (Giles Davies) who often breaks into Ivor Novello and Cole Porter numbers while accompanying himself and others on the piano.

Jo Ashe (The Duchess)

With a plot like this it would have been easy to let it become farcical but tight direction by Linnie Reedman never allows that to happen.

I loved everything about this, the terrific cast, the music, the beautiful set design and the lovely costumes. We’re very lucky to have something as good as this right on our doorsteps.
My only niggle with it is the ending. I never liked Wilde’s ending and I had hoped that Ruby in the Dust would rewrite it, but they didn’t. The ending, along with the rest of it, remains faithful to the master.

It’s at The Tabard until 11th October.

September 27, 2014

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