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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Importance Of Being Earnest

This evening I was lucky enough to see the MTC production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest. It's a play that means something to me; I played Lady Bracknell in my last school play, back when I was in Year 12, and I seem to still remember all the lines, which I found myself muttering during the performance (luckily my sister didn't mind!). I had a terrific time doing this. None of us in the production at school ever went on to do anything professional (although two of our drama club members did go on to professional acting, they weren't in this play), but I think, even after all these years, that as school plays go, it was rather good, so there! ;-)

This is the same production the MTC did some years ago, when Ruth Cracknell was still alive to play  Bracknell and Frank Thring, as I vaguely recall, played the two butlers. The set was the same design - it's a giant pop-up book with a handbag on the front cover - the handbag in which Jack Worthing was found. The butlers turn the pages with each page being a set.

This time, the fabulous Bob Hornery played the dual butler role and he played them very different from each other - Lane the standard butler who manages to keep a straight face through all Algernon's nonsense talk, and Merriman as an elderly, doddering retainer who is going deaf.

Geoffrey Rush played Lady Bracknell and really, after a few minutes, you forgot he was a man or Geoffrey Rush and just went along with the delicious silliness of the play and the character.

There was one member of the original MTC cast - Jane Menelaus, who played Gwendolen way back when, came back as Miss Prism and the character was played as a nod to Margaret Rutherford, who performed the role in the original movie.

At the very end, during the curtain calls, Geoffrey Rush did a small tribute to the more recent movie, in which Judi Dench played Lady Bracknell.

I had such a good time, I just had to share it here, even though my usual reviews are of books.

1 comment:

UrbanDragon said...

I once nearly saw Ruth Cracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. Unfortunately, just as we were getting into the rhythm of the language, in the first scene, the stage went empty. The last remaining actor walked off curiously, but in character, and the audience was looking at empitness.

One of the actors had been taken suddenly ill, and that was the end of the show.

After a while they had Ruth Cracknell come out to give us the news.

At least we got our money back.