A Woman of No Importance

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


Lunchtime theatre, lasting comfortably less than an hour, yet summing up a whole life. A Woman of No Importance is a play of laughter and tears, close observation and deep insight, real drama that is all the more intense for apparently being on a miniature scale. A simple set, a few props, just the right clothes, all help capture the mood. So does some neatly controlled music. But it is the acting that really gives life to Alan Bennett's marvellously rich script.

Judi Daykin, assured yet so vulnerable, takes the solo role of Miss Peggy Schofield, holding the stage on her own and capturing your attention with a minimum of action. The delight is in the detail. So is the devil, as she adds with artful pause or a little extra emphasis just the right amount of lemon juice to a mixture that would turn sickly if she let it become too sweet.

Nothing passes her by. She has a sense of her own worth, though she likes to think that she never makes too much of it. She knows her exact place in the hierarchy in the office or the works canteen, and any disturbance of the established order upsets her. Though she may not be important, she always needs to feel that she is special. At the end she is, but only in the worst of ways.

This fine, admirably acted drama is directed by Rhett Davies for the Broad Horizons Company. Further performances until Friday, June 4, at 1.10pm.

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