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The Importance of Being Earnest
a Comedy
by Oscar Wilde

COMPANY : Players Guild @ Sugar Hill [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Eagle Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5391

SHOWING : November 02, 2018 - November 18, 2018



The most renowned of Oscar Wilde’s comedies, this elegantly absurd plot centers on Jack Worthing, who is “Ernest” in town. He wins Gwendolen’s hand, but she declares that she chiefly loves him for his name Ernest — the name Jack has allotted to his non-existent brother whose peccadilloes explain his frequent absences from his country home, where he lives with his pretty ward, Cecily. Another formidable impediment to Jack’s happiness is Lady Bracknell, who shudders at Jack’s having been found in a handbag at Victoria Station. Meanwhile, Cecily has decided to marry “Ernest.” When Algernon presents himself in this guise, she immediately accepts his proposal. But she too will only marry an “Ernest”. However, through some highly improbable coincidences, all is happily resolved.

Gwendolen Fairfax Jacquie Bosma
Jack "Ernest" Worthing Jerry Jobe
Miss Prism Barbara Macko
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The Importance of Production Values
by playgoer
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The Players Guild @ Sugar Hill is presenting a sumptuous production of Oscar Wilde’s "The Importance of Being Earnest." The set design, by Terry Mulligan, encompasses three different settings, all lovely. The first act, at Algernon’s flat in London, has white curtain walls with a large opening upstage and is decorated with vintage furniture and hangings. The second and third acts, at Jack’s country home, first show the garden with a bay windowed building segment upstage and then the inside of the bay window and more vintage furniture. Chelsea Floyd Martin’s lighting design illuminates the cyclorama with vibrant colors throughout. It’s a visual delight.

Then you add in the elegant men’s costumes by Kylie Jefferis and Claudia Betro and the jaw-droppingly gorgeous women’s costumes by Valerie Gruner and her firm All-Stitch Atlanta. Layer on charming performances and period wigs and you have a sprightly, giggle-inducing production of this classic comedy that is a pleasure to view from start to finish.

Director Jimmy Spearman has gotten fine performances (and good English accents) from his entire cast, and has added inspired touches of comedy that don’t derive directly from the script, but spring directly from character. Terry Mulligan plays two servants with a tiny bit of attitude. Alan Hyma gives the Reverend Dr. Chasuble a bit of gravity while never venturing into the tedious. Barbara Macko, as Miss Prism, layers girlish flirtation with a teacher’s severity. Martha Wright makes Lady Bracknell a formidable force of comic pronouncements.

The two love couples have most of the stage time. The men are older than usual, but it doesn’t really affect things. Jerry Jobe makes for an earnest Jack Worthing, and Michael Wright’s expressive face captures every mood and whim of Algernon. Their female counterparts are utter delights. Jacquie Bosma is sultry and svelte as Gwendolen Fairfax, contrasting beautifully with the chirpy innocence of Jamie Goss as Cecily Cardew. Their passive-aggressive encounter in act two is a highlight of the production.

Sure, there are a few line bobbles and the pace doesn’t always rise to the point of giddiness, but Oscar Wilde’s bon mots come through loud and clear. Amplification is used, but with no squawks and with even sound levels, it’s not as distracting as it might be. This production sounds fine and is a perfectly stunning visual treat. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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