Metro Theatre CompanyThe Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
Reviewer: Jane Penistan
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest continues to delight both audiences and actors after more than a century. It does so at the Metro this October. Directed by John Hedgecock, Wilde's biting wit is enjoyed on both sides of what would have been the footlights, in the author's day. The social satire is still relevant today, though society has changed. Pretentiousness is just as present in Canada today as it ever was anywhere.
Much of the success of this "trivial comedy for serious people" (Wilde) depends on the understanding of their roles by the actors. Here Mike Wild excels as Ernest. His performance is almost impeccable. He is ably, but not so successfully, abetted by Steve Baumber as Algernon. It is difficult for an actress to play Lady Bracknell, as the shade of Edith Evans's film presentation still lingers in many memories, and it is impossible for some lines not to sound like mimicry of the well known intonation and gesture. Alison Schamberger does her best to be her own Lady Bracknell with some success. Wendy Kibble succeeds admirably as the charming not so innocent Cecily Cardew, and Aurora Faulkner-Killam brings much grace and elegance to the Honourable Gwendolen Fairfax.
The garden set of the second act is delightful and redolent of a well kept country estate. Unfortunately the interior of the house attached to it does not live up to the same elegance and taste. The same could be said of the opening scene of Algernon Moncrieff's bachelor establishment. Apart from Gwendolen's vivid green dress in the opening scene, all the costumes were very pleasing and well suited to the characters. The lighting was well managed, particularly in the second act, as the afternoon faded subtly into evening. The music and sound were well integrated into the action.
The director and cast are to be congratulated on this presentation of an apparently simple, but in reality, difficult comedy. They achieve style and poise while they enjoy the wit and humour of Oscar Wilde.
The Importance of Being Earnest runs at the Metro Theatre, 1705 West Marine Drive, Wednesday - Saturday at 8.00 p.m., October 4 -November 1, 2003. For more information, reservations and tickets, call 604-266-7191, or visit http://www.metrotheatre.com
© 2003, Jane Penistan