The Importance of Being Earnest

ALISON CROOSE River Studios, West Acre

ALISON CROOSE

> River Studios, West Acre

The sentiments of Oscar Wilde's “trivial comedy for serious people” are far removed from the 21st century, yet the play remains ageless and continues to be thoroughly entertaining.

The work is mannered, yet the familiarity of the pearls of throw-away lines maintain its endearing qualities and given the professional West Acre treatment can be enjoyed anew.

Andy Naylor's direction builds on the success of the new indoor tent, where the intimacy of the in-the-round performance space created a superlative atmosphere and the acting abilities of the cast stood up to close scrutiny.

Such was the standard of the performance that even the manservant/butler (Mike Breen) earned a special ovation. From the very first lines it was obvious this would be a production to savour as Richard McNeil established himself as the youthfully exuberant Algernon Moncrieff and the stalwart David Connor, with his penchant for exploiting comic opportunities, appeared as his friend, Jack Worthing.

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The rich array of characters was enhanced by Irma Fowler as Lady Bracknell, Chrissy Newell (Miss Prism) and Paul Gregory (Dr Chasuble). Rachael Cummins excelled as Cecily Cardew, teaming up well with Karen Bates as Gwendolen Fairfax.

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