The Importance of Being Earnest

“We’re talking flower jousting, food fights and “posh” aristocratic accents vamped up to the max.” A good start to Week 5, write CHLOE COLEMAN and LEYLA HAMID.

chloe coleman leyla hamid sophie gilbert the importance of being earnest wilde

Yusuf Hamied Theatre, Christ’s, 1st –4th Nov, 7.30pm, £5

Dir. Sophie Gilbert

If you’re looking for a “Wilde” (sorry) night at the theatre, then this is right up your street. Okay, so it’s a little camp, a bit OTT, but what do you expect? If anything, this just adds to the infectious comic vibe – you cannot help but laugh along.

We all know the story – two flamboyant dandies living it up between the fashionable “town” and their sprawling country estates, swapping identities as they swap addresses. By this point, Algernon’s incessant ‘Bunburying’ is no unknown concept, and one which creates a fantastic platform for Wilde’s witty cynicisms and subtly ironic references to his class-ridden society.

But a word of advice: if not a cheese aficionado, then back away now. This is unsolicited melodrama, its character portrayals unapologetically larger than life – we’re talking flower jousting, food fights and “posh” aristocratic accents vamped up to the max. But it works. A well-known but well-loved play, there’s not a whole lot of room to make your own mark on it. This said, we enter the theatre expecting to be entertained, and that’s what we get.

As for the cast, all threw themselves straight into their respective roles with impressive energy, and sustained it right up until the end of the final scene. Yes, the uniform cheesiness grated a little, but in spite of ourselves we were all chuckling along to Dr Chasuble’s (Robert Chapman) inadvertent innuendos and Aunt Augusta’s (Rhianna Frost) blatant snobbery – both of whom performed with admirable comic energy. The leading men acted in Earnest (again, apologies) and in fact the entire cast kept the audience on side throughout.

That this isn’t exactly a ground-breaking reinterpretation of Wilde’s classic may not even be such a bad thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As the audience, we sit comfortably in our seats knowing exactly what we’re getting. So if you’re looking for a pick me up amidst the dreaded week 5 blues, then head down to Christ’s for a night of harmless fun.