It's been about an hour since I left the theatre and I still seem to be unable to stop talking in Oscar Wilde. There is something so endearingly intrusive about Oscar Wilde's prose.
While the finer points of his comments on society are perhaps lost on those who are not surrounded by turn of the century London society, his barbarous wit is ever amusing. Only Wilde could come up with a story where two women insist on marrying a man called Earnest, and where two men pretend to be Earnest in order to secure the love of said women, and one of the men happens to have once been found in a handbag in Victoria Station.
The Importance of Being Earnest is an immensely popular play. There have been at least two film productions boasting names such as Judi Dench and Colin Firth. It does become then, one of those productions that it is hard to tackle without being compared to numerous other incarnations. The Darlinghurst Theatre Company have, however, managed to live up to the challenge.
Though faced with a relatively small space and, I assume, a budget much smaller than that of the most recent Hollywood Reese Witherspoon-starring screen version of the play, director Nicholas Papademetriou has done an excellent job with staging, simplifying the stage down to the most important elements. The actors, including Linda Cropper as Lady Bracknell, who is currently featuring on Channel Ten's Offspring, are all well cast and manage the task of the outrageous comedy with considerable outrageousness. While the pomposity of the upper class accent occasionally defeats some, for most it's spectacularly well done. Watch out in particular for Adele Querol's Cecily a great talent whose aristocratic airs were more than spot on.
The most important thing to remember with a Wilde play is that it's meant to be completely ridiculous. Like the Greek playwrights before him, Oscar Wilde takes everything to extremes. While at times it means that each line is far too outrageous to be true, it is always funny.
You won't be disappointed by a trip to Darlinghurst Theatre's The Importance of Being Earnest. In fact all I need advise is to stock up on the cucumber sandwiches before you go. After watching the actors consume copious amounts of tea, sandwiches and muffins, by the end I was truly famished. Rather.