Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
On the day of her 21st birthday, Lady Windermere is both gifted a beautiful fan by her husband and finds out that he might be having an affair. The discovery that Lord Windermere has been secretly sending money to Mrs Erlynne, a woman whom scandal follows anywhere she goes, fans the flames of rumour and threatens to ruin Lady Windermere’s birthday, her social standing and her marriage.
The Genesian Theatre is a mainstay of the Sydney theatre scene, and always a good way to spend an evening. Directed by Jess Davis, Lady Windermere’s Fan is an energetic portrayal of Oscar Wilde’s first big hit, and while I can’t say it’s one of my favourites from his collection, Davis’ adaptation of this old-timey Gossip Girl-type story of the scandalous lives of London’s elite is an entertaining production.
Aimee Honor and Kendall Drury have chemistry as Lady and Lord Windermere, and Michela Noonan is positively wicked as Mrs Erlynn, but it’s the supporting characters including David M Bond as Lord Augustus Lorton and May Hill as Lady Agatha Carlisle that steal the show. One drawback, however, was that all cast struggled to clearly articulate their dialogue, requiring the audience at times to play catch up on what was happening by interpreting it from context rather than dialogue.
Staging and costuming are period-appropriate, with Davis taking advantage of the time period to play with some quirky storytelling techniques. During set changes, for example, we enjoyed classical covers of hit songs like Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ a la Bridgerton, while text projected on the red velvet curtain told us all about deportment in the late 1800s. It was a creative way to progress the story and really enjoyable to watch.
Lady Windermere’s Fan is on at the Genesian Theatre until 7 May 2022. Book your tickets here.
Wine Pairing | Port/Tawny
Fortified wine was the wine of choice in the Victorian Era, and Port a particularly popular drop. That combined with Port’s typical mixture of caramel flavours and the burn you get in your throat from the extra alcohol it contains makes it an ideal partner to Lady Windermere’s Fan’s charming-yet-deadly charm. In Australia, you’ll find some great Ports going by the name of Tawny – changed after Portugal, the country where Port originated, claimed the name as their own in the 1990s.
My Pick: Hanwood Estate 10-Year-Old Grand Tawny
This is a full bodied, sweet tasting Tawny with strong flavours of biscuit, nuttiness and caramel. Gold winner at the Royal Adelaide, Perth Royal and Riverland Wine Shows in 2010, sip it with your eyes closed and you can almost imagine yourself in a gossipy ballroom circa 1890 – even if you don’t, you’ll still have enjoyed a classic Aussie Tawny.
|Aussie Season||19 Mar to 7 May 2022, Genesian Theatre, Sydney|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, period drama|
|See it if you like||period dramas, Victorian sassiness, Oscar Wilde|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||caramel and nutty flavours, varietal typical of the Victorian Era|