Importance of being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest
LIGHT AND FLUFFY BUT A LITTLE CONFUSED
This re-imagined production of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 classic sees a cast of West End stars join together as The Bunbury Company of Players: a group of older amateur actors who have revived their cherished performance of Earnest so many times that their own characters have become interlinked with their Earnest counterparts.
The story tells of two bachelors - the dependable John Worthing (Martin Jarvis) and upper class playboy Algernon Moncrieff (Nigel Havers) - who create different identities to pursue the eligible Cecily Cardew (Christine Kavanagh) and Gwendolen Fairfax (Carmen Du Sautoy). Their brushes with the redoubtable Lady Bracknell (Siân Phillips) and the uptight Miss Prism (Rosalind Ayres) result in a plot of confusion and humour.
Whilst the cast camp it up as the old school am-drams enjoying yet another revival of Earnest, the twisted plot misses the mark. This is a final dress rehearsal set in the sumptuous home of George and Lavinia (the first time I have seen a full ceiling on stage rather than a lighting rig!), where interaction from the actors is intertwined with Wilde’s story. Some strong performances ensure an enjoyable evening - I particularly enjoyed the two-hander between Cecily and Gwendolen in the 2nd half - but the new plot was confusing and added little to the production – Noises Off does it so much better.
The Lowry, Lyric Theatre: October 6th-10th 2015
Reviewed by Garry Thomas-Lowde for Canal St Online.