The Importance of Being Earnest
Wilde’s title can be viewed in various ways in this subversively delightful play.
Ernest was a popular Victorian name; but went down market, with many Ernies.
So one meaning could be the fading importance of being fashionable.
Whatever, Wilde is taking a rise out of upper class wasters.
Henry Proffit and Andrew Lindfield as Algy and Jack revel in this world where smoking is seen as an occupation.
Unusual doubling is a feature of Michelle Shortland’s direction for DOT Productions.
So Dawn Bush plays both the manservant and Miss Prism, while Non Vaughan-Thomas plays Lady Bracknell and Canon Chasuble.
The gender switching brings characters up to the appropriate level of artifice, when some epigrams have been rather thrown away.
Lady Bracknell is younger than usual, but no less a harridan, if lacking that “terrible as an army with banners” quality.
The splenetic tea party between Gwendolen (Lucy Lawson) and Cecily (pert and arch Sophie Farquhar) works as well as ever.