The Importance Of Being Earnest 27-28 July, 1-4, 8-11 August at The Dolphin Theatre, directed by Edgar Metcalf, play by Oscar Wilde.
Review copyright Alicia Smith 2007.
I saw the performance last Friday. I've seen Earnest quite a bit over the years and I wasn't prepared for anything new, it's a familiar play, as comfortable as a favourite and cherished coat. I looked forward to an entertaining and relaxing evening.
I certainly got that. But when the curtain raised and the beautiful Aubrey Beardsley inspired black and white and beautifully illustrative set was revealed it was clear that this was going to be no ordinary production. This theme was maintained throughout, and as well as the beauty of the flats the sense that characters were springing fully formed and magically complete from the black and white page came to me. Probably because I've been reading too much Jasper Fforde.
Look out for:
Both butlers. Especially Cecily's interaction with Merriman. The buoyant nature of the entire play, the perfomances are light and effervescent and the actors seem to be harbouring a repressed excitement and glee which gives the entire play an energetic direction. It's a really fun watch! Michael Lamont's lovely resonant voice and poor back as the Reverend Chausuble. Lady Bracknell - galleon in full sail and just as unstoppable, tops'ls straining.
It's not that any one performance stood out, it's just that they were all so good, and all apparently infected with secret glee and it seemed to be feeding back from the audience and other members of the cast.
A high point, which could have been a low point was when the teapot was knocked over, full of tea. David Gregory, still in character burst out with "Good Heavens" in very Algy tones, and both Peter Clark (as John) looked around guiltily and paused for an instant. The completely heartless audience laughed and a weak cheer went up. However the actors, troopers that they were, let us die down and then swung back into things without a backward look.
The apparent city sophistication of Gwendolin contrasting with Cecily as the country cousin was really underscored by the wardrobe - and there are some things worth reading in the programme.
Well done to performers and well done to the crew too! I'd like to see it again! Tickets are available through BOCS.