Reviewed by Lesley Reed
Under the sensitive and experienced direction of Independent Theatre’s Rob Croser and for only three days this week, eight young actors are delivering an excellent ensemble performance of Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, in which double lives bring people unstuck.
The cast is ably supported by guest artist, Sheree Sellick, as a haughty and exceptionally fine Lady Bracknell.
On opening night the cast handled the exaggerated style and rapid-fire wit of Wilde so effortlessly one forgot they were in most cases much younger than the characters they were playing.
As upper-crust playboy, Algernon Moncrieff, Laurence Boxhall has superb stage presence and fine comic timing. Benji Riggs is very good as sweetly naïve, love-struck Jack Worthing. Camryn Jordans is delightfully funny as Algernon’s love, the naïve but conniving Cecily. Fiona Fraser is excellent as Jack’s more sophisticated love interest, Gwendolyn. As prim Miss Prism, Georgia Broomhall does an excellent cameo when the true story behind a certain package is revealed. Jamie Hornsby is full of bluster and infatuation as Miss Prism’s suitor, Reverend Chasable. Ben Francis and Liam Holmes do a great job of the butlers, using nuanced body language and facial expressions.
Despite Lady Bracknell having the best lines, all the young actors make the most of the wit and comedy in a story that proves, no matter what your background, it’s always best to be yourself.
Costumes, supplied by Independent Theatre, are excellent and the set and lighting are simple but effective. The only detraction from the production is the venue. Scotch College’s Barr Smith Theatre is acoustically poor and this makes it difficult to hear some of the young voices, particularly when actors are upstage. External noise is also easily heard in the auditorium.
I never cease to be amazed at the talent emerging from Adelaide Youth Theatre. Well done, once again.