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David Porter » Reviews » The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 25 October 2014

It is always something of a challenge to present a well known and much loved play in a way that is familiar yet fresh.

This classic of mannered comedy is embraced by the Maddermarket cast with energy and good timing, allowing the comedy of Wilde’s witty, often-barbed one-liners and situational humour full rein.

The young would-be Earnests, Algernon (Alexander Cowley) and John/Jack (Rob Tiffin) are well matched and suitably preposterous.

The young women who must each have an Earnest, Gwendolen (Camilla Webster) and Cecily (Ellie Kidd) are excellent, especially in their speedy shallow ‘friendship’ in the tea scene.

Watching over it all with her fearfully splendid matronly glare is the notorious Lady Bracknell (Clare Howard) with Miss Prism (Jane Dickerson) and Canon Chasuble (John Hare) in support. The handbag denouement moment is nicely judged.

There are three superb sets, swiftly changed in the two intervals. Jeffrey Davies directs an evening that shares some quintessentially English social and historical scandal, class concerns, secrets and duplicitous pretences.

A pleasing performance not to be missed.

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