'The Importance of Being Earnest' Review
Antonin Artaud Theatre
Review by Isobel Dawe.
Studio Brunel’s offbeat take on ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, directed by Haura Larris, was the best possible way to start the academic year and introduce freshers to the theatrical side of Brunel.
The original play, written by Oscar Wilde, is set in the late Victorian era and explores the lives of John (Jack) Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff and their alter egos, and the descent into confusion of Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax as their lover’s double lives collide and collapse.
Studio Brunel put a more modern spin on it, shown most obviously from the brilliantly outrageous costume choices and subtle but witty script alterations, but kept the core themes intact. Old and new came together in a perfectly balanced blend for a modern audience, making a relatable and innovative performance.
James J. Larbow as the incorrigible Algernon (Algie) Moncrieff, was a particular highlight of the show for me. He played the character with perfect comedic timing and brought out a new and unique side to the part.
Adam Bradley’s portrayal of Jack Worthing was intelligently done, and he brought the character to life, not by creating a caricature of the original part, but creating a relatable and real character. He and James made the perfect double act, their characters complementing each other perfectly and Worthing was a lovely balance to the rest of the cast.
Frankie Nesha as Gwendolyn Fairfax and Hannah Lynch as Cecily Cardew were another wonderfully casted duo. They played off each other wonderfully, Frankie with all the sass and glamour and Hannah the not so sweet and innocent ward.
Lydia Lennon’s powerful performance as Lady Bracknell was another gem of the show. She portrayed the much-loved character with grace and conviction of professional standards.
Max de Young as Lane had the audience in fits of laughter, his comically timed appearances and perhaps not so platonic relationship with Algernon was just the thing the show needed (not to mention his exquisite choice of costume).
Chloe Perrin and Nadine Chui’s performances as Reverend Chasuble and Miss Prism were also admirable. Nadine used her skill as a dancer to give a carefully choreographed performance, every move having a meaning and purpose. Chloe’s portrayal of the reverend was also extremely well executed.
Put together in just 10 days, the show showed no evidence of being under rehearsed and the cast and crew did a truly commendable job. I’m looking forward to seeing what the year brings for Studio Brunel.