Theatre Night: Season 1, Episode 1

Lady Windermere's Fan (15 Sep. 1985)

TV Episode  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 81 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

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Title: Lady Windermere's Fan (15 Sep 1985)

Lady Windermere's Fan (15 Sep 1985) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Little ...
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Stephanie Turner ...
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Sara Kestelman ...
Robert Lang ...
Ian Burford ...
James Saxon ...
John Clive ...
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Amanda Royle ...
Veronica Lang ...
Diana Fairfax ...
Vivien Lloyd ...
Gloria Connell ...
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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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15 September 1985 (UK)  »

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Pizzicato Polka, Op. 234
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauß and Josef Strauß
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Very fine production
29 November 2006 | by (Washington, D.C. USA) – See all my reviews

I'v never seen this play in any form before, whether on stage or video. I found the play excellent and this production very good. This production really deserves more than just three comments (it appears mine is the third. I hope more people see it, and comment on it). The fundamental message of the play is to be understanding of those who appear to have failed the standards we wish they'd upheld, because we can never be sure we know enough about the situation they were in to be able to judge whether they acted well, given the situation they were in. An important and compassionate message. It is similar to much of Jane Austen, in which the characters are so often misjudging the goodness or badness of other characters because they lack sufficient and accurate information about the situations those characters face. In many ways, Lady Windermere's Fan could be a work by Jane Austen. It's a great shame Wilde was born into a society that had so little compassion for him, that it destroyed such an insightful artist who helped all of us gain a better understanding of human nature. As to this particular TV production, I felt the first scene was a little stiff, but then the actors settled into it. I think the production would have benefited by taking a few more liberties with the play, in the manner in which the 1950s Anthony Asquith movie of The Importance of Being Earnest broke up the opening scene from the play into a couple of scenes, in different locations. All the language and characters would be there, but there would be more motion, more activity. It would have given the production more vitality at the outset. Also, one thing a play needs -- indeed, any story needs -- right at the outset is a character who engages you emotionally, so you want to see what happens to her or him, whether bad or good. In this, I didn't feel it, until the actor playing Lord Windermere, Tim Woodward, entered. Lady Windermere should have been much more vulnerable and engaging at the outset -- I don't know whether the fault lies with Wilde, for not writing her that way, or the director, for not directing the actress that way, or the actress, for not playing it that way, but whoever is to blame, it made the first five minutes or so hard to care about, until Woodward came on. Woodward was excellent all the way through -- very natural and convincing acting, and he has a wonderful voice. I checked on IMDb and discovered he is the son of one of my favorite actors, Edward Woodward (Breaker Morant, TV's The Equalizer, and one of my favorite roles, Sir Samuel Hoare in Winston Churchill the Wilderness Years). This son Tim is distinctive and effective in his own way, I would like to see him in more roles.


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