The Importance of Being Earnest – Review

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By: J. Raven Yep

“When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people.” – John Worthing, Act 1

This age old piece by English author Oscar Wilde did amuse, especially when the Print to Theatre piece, consisting of an all male cast. ArtZine had the opportunity to head down to the National Library and witness “The Importance of Being Earnest” come to life.

Director Glen Goei mentioned that he had a constant urge to put up The Importance of Being Earnest for quite some time. Now that his wish has been fulfilled, this is what ArtZine has to say.

We enter the Drama Centre of the National Library to a medley by our own T’Ang Quartet, featuring pieces from composers J.S.Bach, W.A.Mozart and J.Haydn, setting a classical mood, absolutely apt for the performance based on the Victorian Era piece of literature.

Act 1 opens with the appearance of Brendon Fernandez’s Algernon Moncrief, Daniel York’s John Worthing and Crispian Chan’s prim and proper Lane, Algernon’s butler. Heavily English accented lines fly across the stage as it would have in Victorian times. As York’s portrayal of the gentlemanly John Worthing and Chan’s role as the well-mannered butler were commendable, however, we felt that Fernandez was tripping over words at a few points, probably due to the attempts with the accents.

The actors with female roles though, never disappointed. Ivan Heng’s Lady Bracknell presented a great presence with both poise and aristocracy together with stage daughter, Chua Enlai’s Gwendolen Fairfax. Malaysian actor Gavin Yap did a convincingly wonderful job portraying Worthing’s beautiful young ward, heiress Cecily Cardew. However, apart from Ivan Heng’s role of Lady Bracknell, the actors in female roles would probably have fared more convincingly if their costumes were more effeminate.

Overall though, the performance did a great job bringing out the essence of the story itself, bringing in laughs and applause from its never ending hilarity and the light hearted aspects of it. Definitely a great watch for Literature lovers and beginners alike.

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