The fan of the title is shown to Lord Darlington in the opening scene so it must be used later, like a Chekhovian pistol placed on a mantelpiece. It exists in order to complicate Lady Windermere's life when it is seen by her husband in Lord Darlington's apartment, where she is hiding. (He had sworn his love to her — seriously, in this interpretation — and even proposes that she quit her husband and run off to the Continent to marry him.) But Mrs. Erlynne pops out and claims she brought it, saving Lady Windermere's reputation at the expense of her own.

There are some good touches, though. We are convincingly immersed in the milieu, thanks to scenic designer Michael McGarty and costume designer Christine Mok. The upper crust of Wilde's time had a lot to hide, but they certainly had a lot of pretty distractions to hide behind.

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