Mrs Warren's Profession

by Garson Kanin
Goodwood Theatre 166a Goodwood Road, Goodwood
November 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 @ 7.30Matinees Sunday 17 @ 4.00; Saturday 23 @ 2.00Early Tuesday 20, Wednesday 21 @ 6.30

Vivie Warren has just graduated with Honours from Cambridge – making her a rarity in late 19th century England. She has been supported through her education by her mysterious mother, who has spent much of Vivie’s life abroad. 

Holidaying in Surrey, before starting work with a female actuary in London, Vivie is reunited with her bombastic mother, and several of her mother’s old male associates. During the course of the weekend, it becomes apparent to Vivie that her mother’s considerable wealth has not been earned in quite respectable ways. 

Like Pygmalion, Major Barbara – indeed all of Shaw’s plays – Mrs Warren is filled with fascinating, ding-dong arguments between mother and daughter, and rich with Shaw’s trademark wit and humour, leaving the audience to decide where rightness lies. 

Written in 1893, and one of Bernard Shaw’s cleverest, wittiest plays, it was originally banned, and not licensed for public performance until 1925. 

At a time when women’s issues are in the foreground of the public and political debate, the play’s themes – of women’s position in society, women’s higher education, and the exploitation of female workers – couldn’t be more timely.