Home / Drama / A Woman of No Importance…Or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow – Hen and Chickens Theatre, London

A Woman of No Importance…Or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow – Hen and Chickens Theatre, London

Writer: Katherine Rodden

Director: Cat Robey

Reviewer: Agnes Frimston

[rating:2.5]

“Women have always been picturesque protests against the mere existence of common sense. We saw its dangers from the first.” So says Oscar Wilde, and so spits Lauren, an actress having a quarter-life crisis, wandering around her flat in pyjamas and a rather fetching kimono, surrounded by shopping and absolutely blotto on Sainsbury’s own brand Merlot. It’s a self-pitying opening scene done marvellously, not only for Katherine Rodden’s (who also wrote this) spot-on drunken acting.

But Lauren’s wallowing is rudely interrupted by the appearance of her mother, played by the slightly stiff Rachel Dobell, who has just left her adulterous husband and needs somewhere to crash. After some classic mother-and-daughter sniping, her father (played by a really rather good Alan Booty) turns up, lawyers appear, and Lauren’s posh friend Adrian joins the awkward divorce-party in the tiny sitting room. And as billed, the play turns into a fully-formed farce.

It is always tricky playing such a small theatre where the actors are really very close-by. And a lot is required of Katherine Rodden – she is the glue that holds every scene together. As she falls further and further into ridiculous situations, her constant screaming made it difficult for the audience to judge emotional levels. Parts of it could have been toned down a little. But there were some absolute gems among the cast: Matt Houlihan as Geoffrey the lawyer stole every scene he was in with the most watchable face on stage, and Patrick Neyman as the Sloaney Adrian had magnificent comic timing. Farces are hard to pull-off, and of course, the plot made little sense, as they always do, but the cast had the audience in peals of laughter at certain points. I for one am just grateful for having a new excuse next time I fall over: “there was a moth”.

Runs until 23rd February

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