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Review: The Importance Of Being Earnest @ New Theatre

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 07/11/2012 at 11:00
2 comments » - Tagged as Comedy, Culture, Stage

  • Oscar Wilde

The Importance Of Being Earnest
New Theatre
Tuesday 6th November 2012

Oscar Wilde has written some fantastic quotes. But I think that he remains much more fascinating than his work for the theatre. Though Salome may be the exception.

But I stand by this most in The Importance Of Being Earnest, one of his most popular plays. It's staggering just how old fashioned the play is for a modern audience. The banter between characters is what keeps it going, with that famous, dry and droll wit Wilde is known for. The rather mean 'snipes' made by certain characters towards others are quite splendid. 

What he writes about in the play is just how absurd society was in his time. The mistaken identify here is used against this society as a statement of rebellion. Wilde has dealt with this manner in such a polite and English way, that some may forget his time in prison for acts of homosexuality. 

There are no real belly laughs in this, but rather mere titters and giggles. You may find yourself laughing at just how snobby or even immensely silly some lines are. I'm sure audiences around hundred years ago lapped this sort of thing up. Granted it may have been deemed lightweight, with more hefty and pressing matters being seen on the stage of the time. 

For Middle Ground, the production is a decent affair. The sets are acceptable and the acting was substantial, though I do believe that the play could be funnier if put into the right hands. The set for the second act gave the appearance of an ancient Greek garden. But it just looked to plastic for me. 

We also see the third act inside the house just outside the garden. This is a little niggle but the statue seen outside in the garden is in the last act seen on the wrong side of the interior set. It should have been placed on the right hand side with its back turned. That's one thing I noticed. A cloth for a table also seemed rather creased when placed down for afternoon tea. You almost expected it to be scripted for a character to say, 'My, what a ghastly, creased sheet that is!' I rolled my eyes once, but could have done so more times during the evening.

This being the second play of his I have seen, I doubt I would hurry back to see any more. 

If you like Wilde, then by all means go and see it. It you fancy a good of comedy then you may consider it. Others may find it stuffy and uninteresting.

5/10

The Importance Of Being Earnest is at the New Theatre till Saturday 10th November 2012

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2 CommentsPost a comment

SamuelPatterson

SamuelPatterson

Commented 42 months ago - 7th November 2012 - 12:00pm

I find myself disagreeing with you, although this perhaps originates from my love for Wilde! I thought the play was wonderful. Whilst admittedly the story is somewhat ludicrous and lacklustre, the clever and quirky dialogue between the characters kept my attention sustained throughout. In fact, I found myself so absorbed in their conversations that I sometimes had to remind myself I was in a theatre.

Whilst the sets were not those of a Hollywood motion picture, I find it rather distasteful to mock them. The theatre is one of our oldest living traditions for a very good reason. We have a wonderful ability to sustain disbelief. Sets are merely representations of locales. I should imagine that to carry all that heavy marble on and off the stage would have taken thrice the time the play took to perform. I found the sets to be more than adequate for a stage production, particularly the garden of the second act.

As to your comment about Wilde writing at the time, I find that many of his remarks still ring true today. I'm thinking specifically of his comments of education and politics. Whilst times have moved on in the last century, watching such a society-driven piece shows us that it has not moved on as much as we may like to think.

I though the production was lovely with some delightful acting all round. Although I confess Cecily may have projected a little more towards the beginning of her role, although she overcame this.

With student tickets being only £5.50, I can think of no good reason to not go and see this. Unless you are as uncultured as one of my friends who, upon hearing of planned trip to the theatre, replied with "id be jealous if i knew what that was". Tragic.

Tansi

Tansi

Commented 42 months ago - 19th November 2012 - 17:23pm

Reading this review it sounds as if the production was quite nice. I have to say I agree with your comment about the statue as that would have probably irritated me an awful lot. With @Stormer007's comment about it being marble... Seeing as it's a theatre production I can't imagin that it would be made fully out of marble but most likely made with the effect of marble... I do agree that of course it's not going to be of a massive high standard like a Hollywood film- but even so they should try and prevent the simplest errors that happen that people can and do notice.

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