Offering a quirky twist on Oscar Wilde’s legendary comedy, this production of the Importance of Being Earnest takes on a ‘play within a play’ arrangement as the Bunbury Company of Players, an over 50’s am-dram society present to us their unique spin on the piece.
Our two leading men, upper class cad Algernon Moncrieff (Nigel Havers) and the more upstanding kind-hearted John Worthing, (Martin Jarvis) lead double lives in a bid to escape the over the top social conventions of Victorian Britain whilst attempting to court the affections of Gwendolyn Fairfax (Carmen Du Sautoy) and Cecily Cardew (Christine Kavanagh) all be it under the disapproving and demanding eye of Lady Bracknall (Sian Phillips).
Confusion and deception abounds as we romp through an at times complicated comedy of errors, the addition of the play within a play brought great opportunity for additional wit and modern day references which were lapped up by the audience but at other times I felt complicated matters a little. There is however no denying the talent of the cast on stage; Director Lucy Bailey has a gem of a cast to work with. Martin Jarvis makes for a fine John Worthing, with great comic timing and a strong stage presence he is a joy to watch, Nigel Havers is a suave and sophisticated as you would hope for and the two make for a great double act. Christine Kavanagh is bright and fabulous fun as Cecily Cardew and Sian Phillips just perfect as the overbearing, prickly Lady Bracknell.
With a great set design from William Dudley this show is a fun interpretation of Wilde’s 1894 classic, a little hard work at times but overall a good piece with some fine acting on display.
Running until Saturday 10th October