Reviewed by Allison Thomas
This is an English classic, the last play written by Oscar Wilde. It was set in 1800s in Victorian England, 200 years far removed from modern 2017.
The play was well rehearsed, with snobby English accents, and its archaic prose, farcical action and occasional humour was well received by the audience on Opening Night.
Oscar Wilde is an extremely clever wordsmith, and this play has SO many well-chosen comments and quotable quotes – about society, particularly Victorian, (some are still relevant today!), marriage and relationships, food and fashion, education, age, truth lies and deceit, respect and reputation, love and gender. They are sometimes satirical, sometimes funny, and always clever intellectual comments.
Rosie Aust’s direction, assisted by Don Oakley, ensured that every line was delivered clearly and precisely. Chrissy Slater and her team’s beautiful period costumes, Rosemary Milisits’ furniture and Don Oakley’s set design helped frame the action of this play without distracting.
Andrew Clark imperiously plays Lady Bracknell, with all the haughtiness and controlling dominance of a formidable powerful aggressor. Handsome Matthew Chapman came across as the confident, seemingly respectable, Jack Worthing and Robert Bell impressed as the feminine, foppish “wicked” Algernon Moncrieff. I also enjoyed Vanessa Redmond’s poised portrayal of Gwendolen Bracknell.
Of special note is the wonderful scenery change by 2 “butlers” before Act III, which deserved the applause it received.
My friends and I enjoyed this clever satirical comedy about the realisation of the vital Importance of Being Earnest!
Robert Bell (Algernon) and Andrew Clark (Lady Bracknell)