One of the rare antidotes on offer in pantomime season, The Importance of Being Earnest at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, is a good case study of how a good director can make a difference.
The Stephen Joseph Theatre showed The Importance of Being Earnest over Christmas, and it’s good. To be honest, I could end the review right here. Oscar Wilde’s most famous play is, in my opinion, one of the easiest plays out there to produce. See this advertised by any semi-competent theatre company and you can be pretty confident of a good production.
So as we all know this play let’s get straight to- … What do you mean “I don’t know The Importance of Being Earnest“? Honestly, some people. Right, Act I, Algernon Moncrieff meets his friend Earnest Worthing in London, and drags out of him a confession that his real name is in fact Jack, and only goes by the identity of Earnest in the city. His sweetheart Gwendolynn, however, clearly states she only loves him because he is name’s Earnest, whilst her mother, Lady Bracknell, further discovers Jack was found as a baby in a handbag and refuses permission in marriage. Act II, Algernon, having discovered Jack has an attractive ward named Cecily, who believes Earnest is Jack’s naughty brother, pops over to Jack’s country home pretending to be Earnest and they fall in love. Gwendolynn then meets Cecily, and they of course mistakenly conclude they are both in love with the same Earnest. Cue the 19th century’s most famous bitch-fest. And so on. Are we up to date now?