Warren Icon
Comedy Theatre
Panton Street SW1Y 4DN
Mrs Warren's Profession
Comedy Theatre location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Comedy Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 16th Mar 10
Opens 25th Mar 10
Closes 19th Jun 10
Show Times
Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Weds & Sat 2.30 pm



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A note from the author

We put this AVMovie together (a compilation of still photos and video clips) to show off London theatres as they are seen most often by theatre goers – by night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and  informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.

Baxter

MRS WARREN'S PROFESSION

George Bernard Shaw wrote this witty and provoking play - a hundred and seventeen years ago when the hypocrasy of Victorian England disallowed discussion of prostitutes. He wrote it - I quote:

"to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together."

The play was first performed after Mrs Warren 1Queen Victoria died in 1902 however it was banned by the Lord Chamberlain because of portrayal of prostitution. Even in America when it played in New York in 1905 the police arrested the entire cast and theatre manager. It was a contraversial. social statement then - and even now it still is because it cheerfully shines a light on a subject that is still under wraps in decent society. There is still such a stigma on the word prostitution that it is politically correct to call people in 'the oldest profession' sex workers. Shaw was, perhaps ahead of his time in openly declaring that women who married for money or status were no better than prostitutes.

The play itself does not dwell unduly preach this gospel - that is left to the charachterisation. Not until women were relieved of the status of 'chattel' during the first world war during which the country was grateful enough for their efforts, did the play finally get performed in the roaring twenties.

Mrs Warren 2


The Story
Vivie, was a strong willed young lady who was educated having achieved honours in mathematics at Newnham College Cambridge. Though no blue stocking She determined to proceed to a career in the law. Having been boarded out all her life she scarcely knew her mother who had been keeping her in style with plenty of money. The story starts with her mother introducing her to two of her friends who realise that she is unaware of her mother's profession. Her mother is stylishly dressed - if not overdressed, in a fancy hat and blousey gown.

Mrs Warren 3Mrs Warren owns and runs establishments, she herself being the notorious madame of several high class brothels frequented by the nobility. When Vivie and her mother become better acquainted she becomes aware of the fact that her mother is a prostitute - albeit high class. Sparks fly.

Vivie's ambition to be a lawyer, with her mother a prostitute - well it would simply not happen. Nor would her Newham chums be happy about it. Though thoroughly moderen beside the likes of Jane Austin, her mother was, in the eyes of the law, well out of order. Mrs Warren was unaware of her daughter's predilection for the law. There's also the morality issue of living off immoral earnings.

The plot unfolds as the players portray the characters with skill and finesse befitting this terrific play. Though Shaw was very precise in his casting notes Felicity Kendal and Lucy Briggs-Owen have brought their own characters to enrich the parts even more.

Shaw said
"Ah, when I wrote that, I had some nerve."

Mrs Warren 4

A classic in every respect and in it's own right, it is a play you won't want to have missed. Here again it's worth getting a good seat when you book.

Cast

•  Felicity Kendal - Mrs Kitty Warren
•  Mark Tandy - Praed
•  David Yelland - Crofts
•  Lucy Briggs-Owen - Vivie
•  Eric Carte - Reverand Samuel Gardner
•  Max Bennett - Frank

•  George Bernard Shaw - Author
•  Michael Rudman - Director

On this occasion - just drop us an email (this link launches a mail compose) with your booking ref and we'll send you a free theatreland 3d map and guide. These are exclusive - not much more than the size of a biz card and folding right out to  A3. Superb little things carrying the best large scale map on every block.

© Covent-Garden.co.uk 2010 Updated 24th Mar 2010