The Importance of Being Earnest by Wild Rice

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Gwendolen: My own Ernest!

Jack: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

Gwendolen: But your name is Ernest.

Jack: Yes, I know it is. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

Witness the lives of young romantics as they scramble to keep up with their lies. In Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Jack Worthing conjures a story about a wicked older brother called Ernest whom the people in the country think is long dead, while in the town Jack hides behind the persona he’s created in order to win the heart of Gwendolen Bracknell, from high society.

His best friend Algernon suspects something amiss and travels to Jack’s country house to court Cecily, Jack’s ward. He is mistaken as Jack’s long lost brother, Ernest but decides to play along as he finds out that Ernest had proposed to Cecily.

Who is the real Ernest?

This March, Wild Rice tackles this comedic tale of love, mistaken identities and the peculiarities of high society. Directed by Glen Goei, the all-men cast is bound to tickle you with the likes of Hossan Leong, Ivan Heng, Brendon Fernandez and Chua Enlai.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

By Wild Rice

Drama Centre Theatre @ National Library

25 March –11 April 2009Tickets available from SISTIC.

Ticket prices: $34, $44, $49, $59

(8.00pm Previews 25 & 26 March)

$39, $49, $54, $64

(8.00pm Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sun)

(3.00pm Sat & Sun)

$44, $54, $59, $69

(8.00pm Fri & Sat)

Starring:

Daniel York as John Worthing

Brendon Fernandez as Algernon Moncrief

Ivan Heng as Lady Bracknell

Hossan Leong as Miss Prism

Chua En Lai as Gwendolen Fairfax

Gavin Yap as Cecily Cardew

Zahim Albakri as Rev. Canon Chasuble

Crispian Chan as Lane/Merriman

Accompanied Live by:

T’ang Quartet

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What people are saying about TIBE:

  • It was great fun. After the show, I was wondering to myself whether Glen Goei’s idea of an all-male, non-cross dressing cast worked. But since I laughed so much, it worked for me whether it worked or not.It’s actually a very interesting concept. Wardrobe was practically a role by itself. While all of them were in suits, there were characteristics to each outfit that clearly defined the traits of the wearer.The first act was the best of it, followed by the muffin tiff in Act Two. Chua Enlai as Gwendolen and Ivan Heng as Lady Bracknell were absolutely hilarious, while Ivan Heng and Brendon Fernandez had the best costumes. Frederick Lee designed all the suits and divine would be the best description for them. You’ll just have to catch the production to see for yourself.    – Meredith
  • Eight good reasons to watch The Importance of Being Earnest.Daniel York (mesmerising). Ivan Heng (how often do we get to see him act on Singapore stage, in such a befitting role!). The hiow-dao all-male staging (right down to the final pose before curtain call), Wilde’s tight script. Wild Rice’s tight strip. Ivan’s gorgeous set-design. T’ang Quartet’s accompaniment. And the audience getting every sense of the word – play!“In matters of utmost importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” En Lai delivered that so well!One of the best theatre pieces I’ve watched in years. Leaving Drama Centre, feeling like I was walking out of the best shows of West End, with a huge smile, an inspired energy, and an enormous satisfaction.

    – Weetzdemtooth

  • Alright. I am in love. so in love with “The Importance of Being Earnest”, directed by the kickass good Glenn Goei. I love his works. His bitter satire. His biting comments. His mockery of the society in his times. I think if he ever lives in Singapore right now, he will make a gawd damn good play out of us.I love the all male ensemble. Ivan heng, Chua en lai, Hossan leong, Brendon are rockstars, but of course the rest as well. I do think they brought the whole play to life. Hossan leong, Chua en lai and Ivan heng were perfect for their female roles! Hilarious. It was an intense 2 hours full of witty exchanges and a minute lost was regrettable. I love how the characters generated so much chemistry and I could almost imagine the fun they had behind. So delightful.  – Alice
  • The amazing all-male cast was hysterically funny and Hossan cracked everyone up just be giving out sandwiches to the audience right before the show. Ivan Heng, Hossan Leong, Chua En Lai are just some of the familiar names and faces you can expect to see.Incredibly well produced, The Importance of Being Earnest is a superb show that will prove to be a grand highlight for all occasions – be it a first date, an anniversary, or just a great gig to rescue you from the drudgery depths of the workweek. See your favourite actors like you’ve never seen them before. Truly.The violinists and cellist – The T’ang Quartet – who performed at the intervals were brilliant as well. So if you are a fan of the theatre and comedy, please don’t miss this!  – Siren
  • Save for Kumar, I believe Matriarch Ivan Heng’s gender-blending fame (many thanks to Madame Butterfly and Emily) is unrivalled. His portrayal of Lady Bracknell will be loved and cherished by all who has had the unfortunate inheritance of an irritating pompous aunt. Through his acting, his pointed looks, his well-timed hand gestures, his gait and sway in addition to the hair and make-up, I learn what makes a man, a woman (a lao za bo, in particular). Ivan’s potrayal is better than Judi Dench!Mr Chua En-lai (who acts as Gwendolen Fairfax) was wonderfully funny. He caught onto many of the feminine attributes but visually, it is hard to imagine En-lai anything less than a man. It is the hair, the chin, the fact that he was taller than Daniel York (acting as Mr Worthing). The acting, however, is good – the portrayal of this high-society chick who is superficial and really an airhead.I hate to say this but Mr Brendon Fernandez is a more believable Algernon Moncrieff than Ruppert Everrett, because unlike the latter who is abit fey (no thanks to “My Best Friend’s Wedding”), Brendon has the bad-boy looks already. Then again, his acting as “Why” in “Spin” caused the bad-boy image to stick in my head. His portrayal of a pompous irritating smart-aleck was good, very good – the puffed out chest, well arched back and air-lifted chin. Well, the great posture allowed the suit to sit very well and allowed the audience to notice the fine detailing of the costume.

    It must be noted that the wardrobe of the Show was designed by the great Fredrick Lee and therefore guaranteed drool-worthiness. The fine trimmings of fur and different materials used in Ivan’s suits, the hats and the sparkly cane, the good tailoring (save for Gavin’s suit which hung, just hung on him). I was amused by that nurse-like outfit for Hossan.

    The Show was enjoyable to the extent that I was contemplating in going for another session again. Maybe closing night? My only grouse is that it took the ears to be accustomed to the actors’ accent at the beginning. I was taken aback by this need for faux accents and was like “simi?” in view that the speech came fast and furious.   – n3g0t0

  • I watched w!ldrice’s ‘the importance of being earnest’ tonight and the verdict?  FREAKING AWESOME I’D GO FOR IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT BUT I HAVE NOT THE WEALTH NOR ARE FRONT ROW SEATS AVAILABLE ANYMORE.Where do I begin? The T’ang quartet comes on and all the actors are onstage, just hanging out and watching the guys play, and THEN Hossan Leong left the stage and served the people in the front row CUCUMBER SANDWICHES and HE OFFERED ME ONE AND EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO USE FOR CUCUMBER I TOOK ONE.

    So that was exciting enough, and THEN GAVIN YAP STARTED DOING ROUNDS AND IVAN HENG GOT OFF THE STAGE TO SERVE US SANDWICHES!

    Now come on, I don’t want to deprive someone who’s hungry so I said no to Ivan, who TOOK A STEP BACK AND LOOKED AT ME WITH A RAISED EYEBROW AND A HAND ON HIS CHEST AND SAID IN SUCH AN APPALLED MANNER, “no?”

    The actors, the set, the suits were brilliant. Two thumbs up to Brendon Fernandez who plays Algernon for keeping the energy up to such crazy levels. Daniel York (Jack Worthing) was similarly enjoyable and I love his accent (while the others had to fake theirs). Chua Enlai is as always a master of flamboyance.

    Ivan Heng as Lady Bracknell was simply superb. That man is born to perform. His suits were fantabulous, really ridiculously glamorous. I gasped both times ivan took the stage, he carries his outfits really well. Overall, I loved the show. I’m truly, utterly satisfied!  – Ain

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7 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Earnest by Wild Rice

  1. Attended the preview last night (27/03/09). I think the whole show was very well put up. I hope that more Singaporean shld support more local productions.

  2. absolutely love the show. we laughed a lot. and the chemistry among the actors were superb. the muffins act took the house down

    • Oh yes the muffins! Brilliant start to Wild Rice’s 2009 season. Look out for ArtZine’s review of TIBE – [COMING SOON]

  3. The show was amazing! Pity its over and those people who did not manage to catch it! The all-male cast was incredible, and we don’t even need to imagine how Cecily and Gwendolen would be played by females cause the actors were so convincing! The cucumber sandwiches are the best!

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