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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST @ ZENITH THEATRE Chatswood

 

 

Gwendolyn Fairfax:- “I always take my diary with me when I go on trains. I need something sensational to read”.

OUTATOWNTHEATRE presents its first production at Chatswood. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is the three act version of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 masterful comedy of British Society and its manners, and is set in 1895 with excellent attention to detail on every costume. Oscar Wilde’s rapid fire entertainment is expertly directed by Allan Walpole.

“The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, was first performed on Thursday 14th February 1895, at the St. James’s Theatre in London. The comedy plot concerns Mistaken Identity, Love Triangles, Etiquette, and a somewhat large black leather hand-bag (however this version has a carpet-baggers hand-bag).

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The Importance Of Being Earnest @ The Exchange Hotel

The-Importance-Of-Being-Earnest-inset

Furies Theatre is currently presenting Oscar Wilde’s 1895 masterful comedy of British Society and its manners, set in the frivolous 1920s. Oscar Wilde’s rapid fire entertainment is expertly directed by Chris McKay.

John (Jack/Earnest) Worthing, the play’s protagonist, is a very responsible and respectable young gentleman of excellent means, but leads a double life as Earnest Worthing. Lady Bracknell is Algernon’s domineering blunderbuss of an aunt, and is Gwendolen’s mother. Cecily Cardew, is the eighteen-year-old granddaughter of the late Thomas Cardew, who found baby Jack in a handbag, at the cloak room of Victoria Railway Station (Brighton Line) and then adopted Jack.                     Continue reading The Importance Of Being Earnest @ The Exchange Hotel

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

John Worthing (Michael Whalley) and Gwendolyn Fairfax (Paige Gardiner) court and spark.
John Worthing (Michael Whalley) and Gwendolyn Fairfax (Paige Gardiner) court and spark.

‘I always take my diary with me when I go on trains.  I need something sensational to read’.

Oscar Wilde’s 1895  play THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST saw one of the wittiest people who ever lived at the height of his powers. It is quite simply a comic masterpiece. The humour is irrepressible, like the writer himself, who even on his deathbed, had the final say, ‘Either the curtains go, or I go’.

Satire was Wilde’s forte, his penchant for mocking the pretentiousness and preciousness of society’s ways. In EARNEST, Wilde has come up with a wonderful caricature of a society woman in the role of Lady Bracknell. Andrew Benson gives a fine comic performance as the good Lady in the current Burley Theatre Company revival, directed by Brandon Hartignago. Hartignago’s choice to have a man play Bracknell is not such an unusual choice, years ago Geoffrey Rush played the part with great success.

Michael Whalley as John Worthing and Kurt Phelan as  Algernon Moncrieff make an entertaining duo as the two young friends/scallywags/scoundrels who both, quite separately, have come up with the strategy of creating out of town people, in John’s case his wayward brother Earnest….Algernon his invalid Uncle Bunbury, whom the visit when the life becomes too ‘curly’ and they need to get away.

As cunning as these two men are, they both have soft spots for the fairer  sex. Paige Gardiner as Gwendolyn Fairfax and Katie McDonald as Cecily Cardew are the very attractive objects of their affection, and in a way they match their male counterparts in their use of feminine wiles.

Rounding out the cast Tamblyn Henderson and Ana Maria Belo showed some nice comic touches in servant/maid roles.

Director Brandon Martignago, who resets the play in the present day, delivers a bright, brassy, fast paced, very playful production. There are some interesting choices; the first scene, set in Algernon’s living room, is played out in front of a stage-wide curtain, in a very small space at the front of the stage, that the actors did well to transverse without doing any damage. For the second scene, in effect the curtain opens, to a great, wide reveal, of the garden in John Worthing’s country manor house. There are some nice touches by set designer Mason Browne, peacock chairs, tufted grass, the back wall is covered with Martinique wallpaper depicting a lush garden scene. Browne also designed the bold, character driven costumes.

My favourite scene? There are too many in this play. It’s like asking what’s my favourite Oscar Wilde quote- have you heard this one?-  ‘I can resist everything except temptation’. Ok…I will go for the scene where Algernon turns up at his friend’s county estate, and the shock on John Worthing’s face, and the ensuing comic chaos that it causes.

Recommended, Brandon Hartignago’s revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST plays at the Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre until August 3, 2013.