A review of Oscar Wilde's timeless comedy
- 10 October 2011
- by Sophia Hélène Price
“Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.” Since the 1800's this catch phrase perfectly expresses the feeling that nothing really changes despite the passage of time.
So The Importance of Being Earnest continues to appeal even though Oscar Wilde wrote his comical play over a century ago. The themes and witticisms remain so charmingly relevant today: show me a mother who would not wish her daughter to marry well and spare her from a life of troubles; where is the man who would not be willing to change his name to marry the only woman he's ever loved; when did girls not meet together to discuss the best way to attract a man; has age ever stopped anyone from dreaming of romance?
Stephen Unwin's production at the recently built Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames, (based on Shakespeare's The Globe in London, complete with wooden floor at the front for 'groundlings') does not disappoint. Even after countless renditions of the play's most famous lines I was surprisingly captivated. With impeccable timing and exact delivery, Jane Asher in the role of LadyBracknell, expressed pure horror and disbelief that her niece's fiancé was “found” in a “haaaandbag” at Victoria station! She was frighteningly commanding as she summoned Prism, played by Ishia Bennison alongside an amorous Richard Cordery as CanonChasuble.
I delighted in the energetic banter, anger and frustration of DanielBrocklebank as Jack Warner with Bruce Mackinnon as Algernon who conveyed all the charm of a young scoundrel looking for pleasures and although Jenny Rainsford's Cecily lacked some of the playfulness of a young 18 year old, she certainly looked alluring in sparkling dialogue with Kirsty Besterman as Gwendolen, about their respective suitors.
Hayden Griffin's simple yet evocative décors outlined by an art frame, instantly captures the atmosphere of three different scenes allowing the focus of attention to divert rapidly back to the actors' delivery. This is certainly a production not to be missed if you enjoy a timeless form of entertainment and relish a break from the world's more sombre issues.
The Importance of Being Earnest runs until the 30th October 2011. Tickets cost between £8 - £30 and are available online at www.rosetheatrekingston.org or through their Booking Office.