If you are a devotee of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde you’ll know all about Ernest and Algernon, Jack and Bunburry, a story of would-be romance with a interfering mother coming between the young lovers. Jack wants to marry Gwendolen, her mother, terrifying Lady B, doesn’t approve, after all he was found in a handbag in the cloakroom at Victoria Station, enough to make any mother wither in contempt. The twists and turns confuse and fascinate although at times it was difficult to catch all that was being said until the cast settled into their stride and the dialogue is all important.
The Importance of Being Ernest is one of Oscar Wildes best known and loved plays. The Original Theatre Company’s production at the Opera House is classy, lovely set, costumes and acting. Some people didn’t know Wildes work so didn’t get the subtle nuances but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Thankfully the producer didn’t mess around with the casting, so often men play Lady Bracknall and Miss Prism but Gwen Taylor played the former and Susan Penhaligon the later with aplomb and humour. In three acts we meet the somewhat louche Algernon (Thomas Howes), the very proper Jack (Peter Sandys-Clarke) Gwendolyn (Kerry Ellis) and Lady B. Second Act introduces us to Miss Prism (Susan Penhaligon) and very cut-glass Cecily (Louise Coulthard) and the worthy Rev. Chasuble (Geoff Aymer) the butler and the maid Simon Shackleton and Hannah Louise Howell.
This is a touring company and it’s obvious the actors are well used to each other and the show zips along seamlessly. Tickets are at a premium but worth trying to get your hands on a couple. www.goh.co.uk
Original Theatre Company
The Importance Of Being Ernest Grand Opera House
Until Saturday 24th February 2018