The use of subterfuge and misdirection is a tried and tested entertainment device. It keeps audiences guessing and allows actors and artists time and space to develop subtext and deeper meaning. Performers as varied as Lady Gaga and Jennifer Saunders can be animated and sometimes dazzlingly visual but it is their eye for detail that create impact. This skill doesn’t seem to fade with time as even in her ninth decade, Rose Wylie’s work continues to surprise and delight.
Her London Show forms part of the rescheduled European leg of the “Joanne World Tour” and her fans will find the wait well worth their while. Movable stages, giant lasers and more costume changes than a Madame Tussaud’s stock take make the hits come alive and even the piano for Gaga’s solo spot is loaded with bling and glitter.
Pad Thai, Nasi Goreng and Pho dishes are the undoubted stars of the show on both the lunch and dinner menu, but digging a bit deeper can yield surprisingly good results. Steamed fish amok is a good alternative to the usual meat dishes as is aubergine with aromatic caramel. Vietnamese iced coffee is the perfect way to finish any meal you order.
At first glance the paintings seem to be imitating typical primary school themes with giant sunsets, stick figures and total disregard for perspective. However, there are telltale signs of deeper emotions at play with World War 2, which Wylie lived through, a recurring theme. Comparisons have been made with Hockney who often used simple motifs to create something much more complex and satisfying.
Directed by Kathy Burke and featuring the talents of Jennifer Saunders and Samantha Spiro, the play follows the mishaps and misunderstandings of a young wife as she follows rumour upon rumour about her husband and his past loves. Full of pithy dialogue, satirical songs and physical comedy, it remains – together with The Importance of Being Earnest – one of the Great 19th Century comedy of manners and is as fresh today as it ever was.