The Importance of Being Earnest
Paul Johnson | 08 Oct 2012 23:28pm
The Importance of Being Earnest – The Wesley Players
Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest parodies Victorian upper-class society, and is one of Wilde’s most popular plays. Described as a comedy of manners the play revolves around two fairly idle young men, Jack Worthing (David Kinder) and his dandyish friend Algernon Montcrief (Mark Spagnol), who cannot marry the girls they love. Worthing’s aunt, Lady Bracknell is opposed to Jack marrying her daughter, Gwendolyn because he has no pedigree. Running parallel to this Jack opposes the union of his friend Algernon with his ward Cecily because Algernon’s sneaky behaviour has angered him. Mark Spagnol gave a creditable performance and was very engaging as the mischievous fop Algernon Moncrieff. His interaction with David Kinder who played long-suffering Jack Worthing (Earnest), worked rather well. The scenes with their respective love interests were also well played. Charli Richardson’s gave a strong performance as Cecily and was a joy to watch. I loved her rebellious nature and the scenes with Zoe Ross, who played Gwendolen. Both women gave creditable performances. The garden scene between the two women was funny, and the realisation that they are both engaged to the same man, Earnest, conveyed brilliantly. Hilary Andrews had the mammoth task of playing Lady Bracknell. Miss Andrews certainly had the bearing and looked the part in the fabulous costumes, but despite all her efforts she did not dominate the stage as one would have expected. Ultimately her voice lacked an imperious tone and she wasn’t as formidable or intimidating as I’d hoped in her speech. General consensus from the audience on the night I saw the play was that they had expected an older Lady Bracknell. The roles of Miss Prism and Chausible were well cast in the form of Jane Jones and Alex Muckersie – their comic timing was superb. In her scenes with Cecily, Jane Jones played the governess Miss Prism with a suitably formal manner but I loved her less formal, dottier moments. Wesley Players fielded a fine supporting cast of John Smailes as Merriman, David Cordell playing the butler, Lane and Colin Butler as the footman.
The authentic Victorian sets, designed by Vicky Stowe, were spot on – especially the drawing room in Act One. A particular mention should be made of the excellent costumes. All seemed right for the period.
- : admin
- : 27/09/2012