The Irish Repertory Theatre

Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director – Ciarán O’Reilly, Producing Director

presents

AFTER THE BALL

By NOËL COWARD

Based on OSCAR WILDE’S

LADY WINDEMERE’S FAN

Edited from the original version and with additional material

By BARRY DAY

 

The Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22 St., NYC

Opening Night: December 16, 2004

 

Directed and Designed by TONY WALTON

Musical Direction by MARK HARTMAN

Choreography by LISA SHRIVER

Lighting Design BRIAN NASON

Hair Design ROBERT-CHARLES VALLANCE

Dialect Coach STEPHEN GABIS

Production Stage Manager KELLY HANSON

Press Representative SHIRLEY HERZ ASSOCIATES

Cast

Duchess of Berwick – Kathleen Widdoes

Mrs. Erlynne - Mary Illes

Lady Windermere – Kristin Huxhold

Lord Windermere – Paul Carlin

Lord Darlington – David Staller

Lady Agatha – Collette Simmons

Mr. Hopper – Greg Mills

Mr. Dumby – Josh Grisetti

Lord Augustus – Drew Eshelman

Lady Plymdale – Elizabeth Inghram

AFTER THE BALL is set in 1899 London, but aside from establishing dress and the social graces of the time, the plot is essentially timeless. Translation, if you have seen any theater at all, you have seen this all before, though perhaps without the musical numbers. At least as presented by The Irish Rep. the play is prettily framed, even with the limited staging area.

To the specifics of this play, we find that the rumormongers have informed Lady Windermere that her husband is paying inordinate attention to and sums of money on an infamous woman called Mrs. Erlynne. Of course, he is, but for reasons yet to be revealed. In the heat of confrontation, her Lordship insists that the woman in question be invited to his Ladyship’s birthday party. This heats things up, and AFTER THE BALL begins to get juicy when Lady Windermere runs off to see a suitor, Lord Darlington, only to have her fan discovered in his home. Have no fear, though. In the end it all works out nicely.

My biggest complaint about AFTER THE BALL is that, after the audience is clued into the real relationship between Lord Windermere and Mrs. Erlynne, the story loses credibility. Mrs. Erlynne knows a secret about Lady Windermere. It is the type of secret that should have been revealed rather easily within Windermere social circles, but no one seems to know anything more about Mrs. Erlynne than heated gossip. Perhaps the blanks were filled in through a rhymed couplet offered by our narrator, the Duchess of Berwick, but if so, that bit of detail slipped by me completely.

In the end, AFTER THE BALL is a frilly serving of theatrical staples. Significant as the product of the virtual partnership of giants Oscar Wilde and Noёl Coward, and for the fact that this production marks the American premiere of the play, I offer this one to theater buffs on those merits especially.

- Kessa De Santis -

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