Shaw’s Lasting Social Punch….’Mrs. Warren’s Profession’, Trading On Its Tricks

MrsWar2by Lloyd Rose  (Washington Post Staff Writer)

January 28, 1991
The Washington Post

Fortunately, the heart of the play isn’t stern, puritanical Vivie, but her unrepentantly corrupt mother. When she dominates the action, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” is as great and unsettling as Shaw aimed for it to be. Born poor into a society that offers her almost no way to get ahead, Kitty Warren opts to do the wrong thing rather than suffer in honorable, miserable poverty. There are young men and women on the streets today who, whether they’ve articulated it or not, have made the same choice.

As Kitty Warren, handsome, throaty-voiced Nancy Linehan Charles is blowzy and shrewd. Her vulgarity has a sensual side; she suggests something even more subversive than Shaw dared: that Mrs. Warren didn’t become a prostitute only for practical reasons. Shaw’s plays remain the work of an Irish intellectual brawler, and even an imperfect play like Mrs. Warren’s Profession” still packs a hell of a punch.

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