The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

The importance of being Earnest | Review


By Lisa Moro

Did you know that Oscar Wilde’s full name is Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde? And the full name of the play he premiered in 1894 is The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.

I’m not a serious person and nor is anyone in my family, so it was a bit of a risk to take my ten and twelve year old boys along to the Lighthouse in Poole for this opening night performance, but I’m glad I did. The play is widely regarded as a classic, but I hadn’t see it before and we all enjoyed it.

The play is about the muddle two men get into where they both tell ladies they have fallen for that their name is Earnest. It is a comic farce and was produced with a chinzy Victorian set, with bustles all round (ok maybe just on bums!).

One of the Earnests, Mr Worthing, is played by Simon Jay. I met Simon at a party once a few years ago when I’m sure he was just a skinny teenager, so it was quite a surprise to see him play the part with middle aged pomposity, full of little mannerisms which built the character beautifully, reminding me of a young Stephen Fry.

His sidekick-friend, the other Earnest, Mr Moncreiff is played by Tom Barber-Duffy and was my 12-year-old’s favourite. Possibly because he has aspirations to be an idle self-serving ladies man himself, so this was an opportunity to study a pro.

The two famous lines I was aware of beforehand were “to lose one parent is unfortunate, but to lose two is careless” and the “a handbag?!”, so my ears were primed and waiting for them. What I wasn’t ready for was the perfectly comedic outrage with which Patricia Garwood, playing Lady Bracknell, delivered them.

The two female love interests – Gwendolen Fairfax, a ‘trying too hard to be sophisticated’ socialite, played by Celia Muir, and Cecily Cardew, a lovable simple romantic girl played by Anna Newcome – also made for an entertaining comedy double act when their characters came together.

A fun family night out was given the seal of approval on the bus home, when my ten-year-old told me he’d enjoyed the play and asked when the next one will be. And for that I will give it four stars.

Directed by Frank Holden 

Produced by Tracy Jane Murrey 

VENUE: Lighthouse Poole DATES: 1st-4th October 2014 TIMES: Evenings 8pm, Thursday and Saturday Matinee 2pm TICKETS: £12, discounts apply BOOKING: 0844 406 8666

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