The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
The Vaudeville Theatre, London
Directed by Adrian Noble
This show has absolutely everything; a phenomenal cast, who work tirelessly to produce the excellently timed comedy under Adrian Noble’s direction, an amazing set designed by Peter McKintosh – and of course Oscar Wilde’s incredible writing.
The Importance of Being Earnest is a trivial comedy about two gentleman, Algernon Moncrieff and John (Jack) Worthing. It tells of the double lives they lead in order to try and win the enchanting Lady Gwendolen Fairfax and Jack’s vivacious young ward, Cecily Cardew. Their obstacle, the fearsome Lady Bracknell portrayed by the wonderfully talented David Suchet; well known for his role as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.
Suchet has incredible stage presence and is very much the star of the show. He uses a wealth of techniques to bring Lady Bracknell to life – including his flawless accent, stunning costume and precise physicality, right down to the flick of the hand when producing a notebook to interview Jack (Michael Benz). Lady Bracknell is ruthless and calculating in her interview and her eyes speak a thousand words, unlike Jack whose constant need to impress lands him in yet more trouble. Both actors play superbly off each other, which makes for a fast-paced, hilarious performance.
The story heightens in Act Two when we are introduced to Cecily (Imogen Doel) whose wonderful energy lights up the stage. Her comic timing is second to none and the chemistry between her and Algernon (Philip Cumbus) is a delight to watch – the whole act seems to be over very quickly as there is so much going on. Gwendolen arrives to visit Jack and ends up in a heated argument with Cecil, where the pair believe they are engaged to the same man. Algernon and Jack’s double lives well and truly catch up with them, which leads to a climactic finish.
The tension culminates in Act Three before reaching its pleasant, well-earned resolution after another appearance from Lady Bracknell. The compulsory grilling she gives Cecily to test her suitability as a wife and the revelation of Jack’s heritage.
The actors are completely absorbed in the world of the play from start to finish which in turn draws the audience in making the performance not only believable but thoroughly engaging.
To anyone who is a fan of classic comedy, this show is an absolute must-see.
Runs until 7th November 2015