Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Lucy Bailey with Nigel Havers, Martin Jarvis, Sian Phillips, Cherie Lunghi, Christine Kavanagh

You'll either go with the contrivance or you won't. The Bunbury Players rehearse The Importance of Being Earnest, with a wink at Ayckbourn and Michael Frayn, in director Lucy Bailey's off-beat production. The play-within-a-play format highlights extenuations from Wilde's comedy, in the scarcity of cucumber sandwiches or its iconic lines. While William Dudley's clever off-kilter Arts and Crafts design, with shafts of brilliant light, offer a delicious time-warp from the late 1890s to the present, at once painterly and sun-blest just like the original. As a pair of old roues, indulged as bygone Jacks and Algys, Martin Jarvis and Nigel Havers are superb: dapper, energetic with a cut-glass clarity to complement Wilde's be-dazzled wit and sharply observed characters. Equally on sparkling form is Sian Phillips, as Lady Bracknell/Lavinia and Cherie Lunghi, Christine Kavanagh as Gwendolen and Cecily in the garden scene.....Lovely stuff 

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