We went to see Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, this weekend. It was a crisply-executed production that didn't try to change the play's meaning.
The basic setup (minor spoiler alert) is that a man has become rich as a slumlord, and is now trying to marry his only daughter into society. What is his moral standing? Should decent people even associate with him?
Shaw delights in turning conventional moral judgments on their heads, and he has a lot of fun with it here. Although a socialist himself, Shaw understands capitalist economics much better than the average playwright.
For me, the stunning thing about Shaw is his ability to write plays of ideas - with lots of abstract discussion - that stay firmly tied to the important practical conflicts that drive the play.
He writes about ideas, but rather than being a ranter,
He spins his concepts into sparkling banter.