Double-Olivier Award Winner, Samantha Spiro has joined the Wilde side in the West End, as Dominic Dromgoole’s year-long Oscar Wilde season continues at the Vaudeville Theatre with the Kathy Burke helmed LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN. Samantha is Mrs Erlynne, the ‘other woman’ suspected of having an affair with Lady Windermere’s husband, with a secret twist revealed later in the play. Lyn Gardner wrote in her Guardian review, “Dripping charm and diamonds, Spiro’s superb as a scarlet woman doing unarmed combat with Victorian moralism.”
Samantha happily signed my drawing at the stage door a few weeks ago between Saturday performances.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is Shakespeare’s most outrageous comedy. One of theatre’s great screwball double-acts with a couple hell-bent on confusing and out-witting each other. First performed in London in the 1590’s, it was farcical and probably hilarious to Elizabethans, but it’s message of ‘taming’ a woman with a fiery personality and making her subservient to her husband does not always sit well with modern audiences.
Toby Frow’s production for The Globe in the summer of 2012 featured double-Olivier Award-winning actress Samantha Spiro as Katherina and Simon Paisley Day as Petruchio. It Included the ‘induction’ by the character, Christopher Sly who takes to the stage as Petruchio, so the ‘play-within-a-play’ is more a fantasy, wishful thinking rather than reality, tempering the misogynistic theme. The Guardian’s Michael Billington wrote as “both actors go at it hammer and tongs” throughout the entire play that this is a “…knockout Shrew that doesn’t go in for much psychological depth and presents Katherina’s final speech of submission without irony.”
Jane Shilling in The Telegraph describes Samantha’s Kath as “a compact, muscular spitfire whose gentlewoman’s education has evidently included self-defence classes”, as she drops her suitor to the ground on their first encounter.
I ‘drew the Shrew’ with this in mind, but never got it signed… until… as per chance, both actors were on the London stage over this Christmas period past But alas, not on the same stage. Samantha was in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Noel Coward and Simon in THE LORAX across the Thames at the Old Vic. Still that’s why there’s seven days and nights in a week and it took two of them to complete the mission.
Amelia Bullmore’s hilarious and heartwarming comedy about life’s impact on friendship Di and Viv and Rose finally makes its West End debut at the Vaudeville Theatre for a limited season. It premiered at Hampstead Downstairs in 2011 where it was a sell out success with an in-house transfer to Hampstead’s Main Stage in 2013, also enjoying a sell out run.
Original cast member Tamzin Outhwaite (Di) is joined by Samantha Spiro (Viv) and Jenna Russell (Rose) in this story of female friendship across 27 years, following them from initial bonding as University undergraduates in 1983, through life’s changes, crises and tragedies.
Receiving an average of four stars by the London critics, Di and Viv and Rose continues at the Vaudeville until 14 March.