Extra cucumber sandwiches were ordered by the State Theatre Company as an eager crowd gathered at the Dunstan Theatre for Oscar Wilde’s classic farce, The Importance of Being Earnest.
An intentionally butchered Polonaise Op. 53 in A♭ by Chopin opened the first act exactly as the troupe intended to continue; with humour and precision comic timing.
Masterfully directed by Geordie Brookman, this stellar cast effortlessly delivered the requisite flamboyance whilst leaving space for the brilliance of Oscar Wilde’s script and his famous one-liners.
Nathan O’Keefe as Algernon Moncrieff, a dandy with an eye for mischief, and Yalin Ozucelik as John Worthing, a player with a penchant for a pseudonym, created high jinks with their deceptions to ultimately gain the affections of Cecily Cardew (Lucy Fry) and Gwendolen Fairfax (Anna Steen). The quartet was exemplary; their delivery, facial expressions, timing and poise all help sustain the delightfully ludicrous debacle.
Overseeing the shenanigans with extra puff in her sleeves was Nancye Hayes as a superior Lady Bracknell; her exaggerated falsetto deliciously matching her character’s superficiality. Quality support parts come from Caroline Mignone as Miss Prism, and Rory Walker in the triple roles of Rev. Chasuble, and the two servants.
Designer Ailsa Paterson added layers of visual richness as the play progressed and the tangle of lies intensified. The simple, yet effective set dressing also created wonder and intrigue without detracting from the witty repartee. A nod to Accent Coach Simon Stollery for the consistency of elocution throughout, and Lighting Designer Gavin Norris who created a sense of coolness to the interiors and a charming warmth to the exterior scenes.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s in a name, you’ll find answers in this splendid rendition that is as right as a trivet. “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Me too Mr. Wilde, and I was.
Find out about The Importance of Being Earnest.
Reviewed by Gordon Forester
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Street, Adelaide
Season: 25 July – 16 August 2014
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes (including interval)
Tickets: $30 – $56
Bookings: Book online through the State Theatre Company of SA website or phone BASS on 131 246