Review: The Importance Of Being Earnest @ New Theatre
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.
IMAGE: Abode Of Chaos