Dame Judi Dench praises award-winning Camden Fringe play

Village Wooing

Shaw's Village Wooing ran at the Etcetera Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe in August and has won an award for best 'rediscovery'. - Credit: Jonas Cemm

Dame Judi Dench has praised a Camden Fringe play staged in a tiny pub theatre which revived a little known work by George Bernard Shaw.

Village Wooing; a 'Comedietta for Two Voices,' garnered four and five star reviews when it ran at Camden's Etcetera Theatre in August, and last month picked up the London Pub Theatre's Standing Ovation 'Rediscovery' award.

Maryann O’Brien who played Z in Village Wooing opposite Joe Sargent as A collected the award at the Lion&Unicorn

Maryann O’Brien who played Z in Village Wooing opposite Joe Sargent as A collected the award at the Lion&Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town last month. - Credit: Ross Kernahan

Dame Judi is a vice-president of The Shaw Society which sponsored the production, and starred in a TV broadcast of the play opposite Richard Briers in 1979.

"It’s wonderful to see Shaw’s plays being kept alive, and to such a high standard by SHAW2020. Long may they continue," she said.

Dame Judi Dench pictured in 2019 at the Fairfield Halls

Dame Judi Dench is vice president of The Shaw Society and appeared in the play on TV in 1979. - Credit: PA

Famed for plays such as Pygmalion and St Joan, the Irish writer was a St Pancras Councillor at the turn of the 20th Century, whose civic patch included Camden Town where he campaigned for women's toilets.

Written in 1933, Village Wooing features two characters A and Z who play a relentless game of cat and mouse across land and sea. Judges said the production, which was also nominated for a prestigious 'Offie' award, ‘powerfully evoked a sense of the era’.

Jonas Cemm, who is artistic director of SHAW2020, a company of actor-members of The Shaw Society who staged the play said: "I am over the moon that our post Covid comeback has been so well received. The reviews were a huge boost but winning this award is the frosting on the cake. We hope to take the show on the road in spring 2022".