Billed as “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People,” "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST," is arguably debonair Oscar Wilde’s most famous play.
Done here, outdoors on the lawn of Brand Park in Glendale, it’s a bare-bones production with very simple set and a narrator written in to fill in the blanks. The production values are in the performances, which are uniformly excellent. The plot is fairly simple. Buddies Jack and Algernon both pretend to be named “Ernest” in order to woo the ladies in their lives, the fetching Gwendolen and the “excessively pretty” Cecily respectively, who love the name. See, Jack has invented a London dwelling brother named Ernest in order to escape his country life, using the imaginary sibling as an excuse to visit the city. Algernon pretends to be this Ernest to woo Cecily. Jack comes to London to woo Cecily. Lady Bracknell is a stalwart barrier, being Gwendolen’s guardian, to Jack’s plans, grilling him as to his worth in one of the funnier scenes. Both men go so far as to make designs to be re-christened with the name of Ernest in hopes of winning love. Nowhere is there any effort to explore honesty and true virtue until the very end, when truths come out and love abounds. Set for this production in the 1920s, this EARNEST is long on satire and rapid witty dialogue, outing the English penchant for class snobbery and hypocrisy.
Director Lynne does a nice job of guiding this production, using Pascal Gercourt to narrate certain stage directions and even portraying a tea table aside from four roles his takes on! Mieko Beyer is especially attractive as Gwendolen and Misters Melaney and Carbeck are spot on as the two wooers. Manette Antill is terrific as the stuffy Lady Bracknell, and Ms. Stoodley is bright as the spunky Cecily. Kelly McCall is properly stiff as Miss Prism. This is a well-stitched ensemble!
"THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST" plays on various dates now through April 28th so rush to see this one. The location is Brand Park, 1601 W. Mountain Ave., Glendale Ca. 91201. Admission is free, donations accepted. Visit www.deanproductionstheatre.com for reservations and information.
Narrator/Lane/Merriman/Chasuble Pascal Gercourt
Algernon Moncrieff Kenyon Meleney
Jack Worthing Henry Carbeck
Lady Bracknell Manette Antill
Gwendolen Fairfax Mieko Beyer
Miss Prism Kelly McCall
Cecily Cardew Caitlin Stoodley
Directed By Rebecca Lynne