The story of Mrs. Warren’s profession is of a young woman, Vivie, who has just finished her education and returns to meet her mother, Mrs. Warren, for the first time. The reason why she was shipped away to be educated and the source of her income becomes all too apparent as the play progresses, leaving an interesting moral dilemma for those involved.
The is a new production of the Shaw play dating from 1893 and is directed by Patrick Mason. As with a lot of Shaw’s work, the complexity of the situation is created to high light the hypocrisy of modern society. While the play is over a 100 years old, the themes are still relevant today and the situation could just as easy be recreated in present day.
The play is well acted throughout, with the two lead female roles of Cusack and O’Mara as mother and daughter standing out, and the few scenes with the two of them on stage alone together are among the best in the play. At the opening of the production and between the various acts, a radio in the corner of the set comes to life, and the voice of Shaw can be heard discussing the play we are watching and the reason he wrote it. It is an interesting device that works well and makes the audience aware of exactly what the writer was striving for.
Mrs. Warren’s Profession was initially banned due to its subject matter of prostitution. Its first public performance was in 1925, 32 years after it was written, so it is important to see how ground breaking and controversial this play was at the time it was written. Having said that, it is not without its flaws and the ending of the piece left me feeling a little hollow, lo0king for more of a resolution than the one that was provided. This is a fine production that breathes new life into the play and introduces it to another generation.
Mrs. Warren’s Profession opens at the Gate Theatre tonight, Tuesday the 9th of April. Review was on preview on Saturday the 6th of April.
Directed by Patrick Mason
Set & Costume Design by Francis O’Connor
Lighting Design by Davy Cunningham
Mrs Kitty Warren – Sorcha Cusack
Vivie Warren – Rebecca O’Mara
Rev. Sam Gardner – Bosco Hogan
Frank Gardner – Tadhg Murphy
Sir George Crofts – David Yelland
Praed – Philip Judge