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Review of The Importance of Being Earnest – 3.5 Stars

Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 16th November 2017

★★★ ½

“fast, furious, and sophisticated; littered with delightful bunburying and Wilde’s beloved familiar quotes”

 

I decided years ago that the great thing about ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’ is that it is difficult to over-act Wilde’s indignant characters in this play; they are all larger than life. Yet while it revels in stereotypes, the twists and turns we are taken through are not entirely predictable as they lead us to a wonderfully implausible conclusion!

Earnest

The plot is deceptively simple: a man wishes to marry a woman. But the path to true love raises a few issues along the way like fake identities and disapproving families. These issues lead to more issues, which uncover further issues … which tangle issues even more.

From the start I loved the black and white set, a great backdrop allowing the hugely colourful characters to take centre stage. It was altered just the once to move the action from inside to out, meaning the entire play rested on the performance and the script.

The cast managed to balance the absurdity of the unfolding farce with clarity and what seemed like ease as the play rapidly progressed. The physical comedy required was dependent on expression and small movement, even occasional stillness, to heighten the constant quick witted dialogue full of wit and wisdom. The script was fast, furious, and sophisticated; littered with delightful bunburying and Wilde’s beloved familiar quotes, and delivered beautifully and comically by all on stage.

Both Daniel Hall and Riley Jones (as Algy/Ernest and John/Ernest) confidently trade raised eyebrows, cutting insults and quips like old adversaries. The ladies they fall in love with, Gwendolen and Cecily (played by Sophie Mercell and Emily-Rose Clarkson), sparkle in repartee with their beloved young men, and in both their burgeoning friendship and barely veiled animosity for each other. The dominating Lady Bracknell (played by Harriet Earle) was withering in tone and gaze, while the sneakily pivotal Miss Prism (Kate Sanderson) and bumbling Dr Chasuble (Scott Barclay) were amusingly simpering. Finally, The Butler, played brilliantly by Daniel Desiano-Plummer, as two separate servants at two separate locations, was understated and a constant source of amusement with muted actions in the background often creating distracting laugh out loud moments

Collectively the cast moved fluidly in action and prose, glossing over a couple of tiny script stumbles and a minor injury very professionally. The audience was constantly laughing, from giggles to guffaws. It seemed to me that the actors grew in confidence as the show unfolded and they settled into the pace. The production was good to start with and strengthened gloriously as the story unfolded. I left with the sound of laughter ringing in my ears and a smile on my face.

 

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hinson

Photography by www.everlockproductions.com

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

is at the Jack Studio Theatre until 2nd December

 

 

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