The Importance of Being Earnest

June 2011


Click to enlarge

The Importance of Being Earnest - by Oscar Wilde 
Performed -  Wed June 1st to Sat June 4th 2011 at Blackfriars Theatre

Synopsis
Jack Worthing is "Ernest" in town. He wins Gwendolyn's hand, but Gwendolyn declares that she chiefly loves him for his name - Ernest - the name Jack has allotted his non-existent brother whose peccadilloes explain his frequent absences from his country home where lives his pretty ward, Cecily. Meanwhile, Cecily has decided to marry rake-hell "Ernest" and when Algernon presents himself in this guise, she immediately accepts his smitten proposal. However, through some highly improbable coincidences, all is happily resolved.

Review
This is probably Oscar Wilde’s most famous and well liked play about the manners and mores of Victorian high society, and my goodness, what tremendously high standards Boston Playgoers attained in their interpretation of this classic comedy! Brilliantly directed, superbly staged and so well acted, this was a most impressive production.

Abby Johnson’s performance as Lady Bracknell was ‘top drawer’ during which she amply demonstrated her great skill as a very accomplished actress. Mathew Barnes (Jack Worthing) and Daniel Poulson (Algernon Moncrieff) , Melissa Marlowe (Gwendolen Fairfax) and Rachel Rowett (Cecily Cardew), Pamela Whalley (Miss Prism) and Alan Whyte (Dr. Chasuble) were perfectly matched pairings and gelled well together, all making the most out of Wilde’s witty dialogue.

David Edgar (Lane), Chris Hunt (Merriman), John Lingard (Moulton) and the stage crew, who were attired as domestic servants, carried out very natural and discreet scene changes. The ladies costumes were dazzling and their hair styles delightful, whilst the men were smartly attired in the fashions of the day. The action took place on very well designed and furnished sets. Congratulations on providing such great entertainment.
Peter Breach NODA 4/6/2011

Importance of Wilde’s Words
Boston Playgoers have recently won an award for their production of the Bronte classic play Wuthering Heights so I was pleased to see they were producing another classic in the guise of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

The play is over 100-years-old but the humour still came through with many lines which are still used today. My favourite being a quote saying that the Tories and the Liberals were the same. Little did he know what would happen over 100 years later.

The whole cast performed with great professionalism and brought the play to life with the humour of Oscar Wilde.

Daniel Poulson as Algernon and Matt Barnes as Jack Worthing were ideal leading men, who showed great chemistry and comic timing.

The leading ladies of Melissa Marlowe as Gwendoline and Rachel Rowett as Cecily captured the true innocence of the Victorian gentry to a “T” and I enjoyed the way they went from ‘best friends’ to enemies within seconds due to them fighting over Jack (aka Earnest).

Also notable was Moulting the gardener played by the Playgoers stalwart John Lingard who managed to steal the show without uttering a word but just sitting in a chair nodding off with a spade in his hand.

The only dampener was that Abby Johnson, who played Lady Bracknell, unfortunately had laryngitis and was not able to project her voice as normal, however like a true pro she soldiered on and provided many comic moments with her facial expressions.

I especially liked the way the servants were used to make the scene changes and there was also a painted board with the scene number which was also altered at the appropriate time.

The members of Boston Playgoers have managed again to perform a classic play with great aplomb and the director Kei Bailey and his cast and crew should be very proud of their hard work.

The last few shows have moved from fantastic comedy classics like ‘Allo ‘Allo to the award winning Bronte classic Wuthering Heights and now The Importance of Being Earnest. What now for Playgoers? Their audience awaits with anticipation.
P. J. Roberts – Boston Target 8/6/2011

Cast
Actors names on right:

Lady Bracknell - Abby Johnson.
Jack Worthing - Matt Barnes.
Algernon Moncrieff - Dan Poulson.
Gwendolen Fairfax - Melissa Marlowe.
Cecily Cardew - Rachel Rowett.
Miss Prism - Pamela Whalley
Dr Chasuble - Alan Whyte
Lane - David Edgar
Merriman - Chris Hunt
Moulton - John Lingard

Production Team

Director - Liz Worsley / Kei Bailey
Producer - Alma Watts
Stage Manager - Elaine Marshall
Choreography - Rachel Pick
Set Design - Liz Worsley
Set Construction - Members of the society
Stage Crew - Alma Watts, Glyn Ruskin, Jacob Moore, members of the society 
Costume - Violet Truelove Wardrobe
Furniture & Properties - Alma Watts & Liz Worsley
Sound & Lighting Design - Paul Gibson
Sound & Lighting - John Knight
Poster - Melissa Marlowe
Publicity - Mike Sheridan-Shinn, Alma Watts
Photography - Hannah Edwards
Poster & Programme - Melissa Marlowes
Printing - Westgate Printing