The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Seminole State College

I know there’s funny in there somewhere, but you need to look closely for it. Algernon Moncrieff (Clayton) loves cucumber sandwiches and dislikes his imperious aunt Lady Bracknell (Alameda). She’s dropping by to see if he’ll ever get married, which does seem a bit wibblely-wobblely. His best buddy John “Jack” Worthington (Spencer) drops in to talk about his own hopes dreams and schemes. They both have imaginary yet persistently ill friends they can invoke to avoid social engagements like a visit from The Lady B. While Algernon studiously quips, and Jack cleverly lies, we see a glimpse of the idle rich at the turn of a century past. The two end up entangled with women, one with the “Honorable” Gwendolyn Fairfax (Chelsea Nelson) and the other with sweet Miss Cecily Cardew (Christina Fells). And while Lady Bracknell vaguely approves of the unions, you know she was hoping for a bit more money and a lot more class.

There are laughs lurking in this, Wilde’s most famous stage play. But they are spread out and most come from Alameda’s strong grasp of bossy women and his ability to wear a hoop skirt and a corset and still emote to the back of this largish space. Spencer and Clayton aim more for the proper English pronunciation of the rich and famous, and in the process generate few giggles. The ladies do better, they only need sweetness and innocence as Wilde saves his most biting lines for Lady B. Behind the action we have an array of rear projection s screen offering up William Morse wall paper and medieval trees as the scene demands. Alameda dominates the action, and keeps the performance worth your while. The story itself is timeless as young men with nothing to do and money to do it with. They relish getting in and out of scrapes that us lesser mortals would find fatal. It’s pleasant but not thrilling, but it IS Wilde at his snarky best.

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