‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ a sumptuous delight

January 26, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

In a scene featuring most of the cast of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ are (from left) Jason Collins (Algernon Moncrieff), Paul Morgan Stetler (John ‘Jack’ Worthing), Angela DiMarco (Cecily Cardew), Jennifer Lee Taylor (Gwendolen Fairfax) and Laura Kenny (Lady Bracknell). By Jay Koh/Property of Village Theatre

In a scene featuring most of the cast of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ are (from left) Jason Collins (Algernon Moncrieff), Paul Morgan Stetler (John ‘Jack’ Worthing), Angela DiMarco (Cecily Cardew), Jennifer Lee Taylor (Gwendolen Fairfax) and Laura Kenny (Lady Bracknell). By Jay Koh/Property of Village Theatre

Sumptuous. Delightful. Exquisite. Decadent.

That’s the sets, the dresses, the cast and the lines.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is deeply shallow and shallowly deep. And that makes it a lot of fun.

But this isn’t a musical. There’s no singing and there’s no dancing. If you go, you’re going to have to work for this one.

But “Earnest” is totally worth it, so pay close attention.

There are three acts, not two. So, when the first interval happens, it’s a surprise that left many people wondering, how can it already be halfway through? Also, those two intervals are not very long, which is amazing, because that’s when the crew changes the sets. 

A city house becomes a country garden becomes the inside of the country home in nothing flat. And all three of those places are gorgeous in their simplicity.But far more important than seeing is hearing at this play.

“People have to really listen, which they aren’t used to doing so much,” said Artistic Director Steve Tompkins during an interval. “People are not so much into language anymore and that’s what it’s really about.”

This show includes one of the most fun marriage proposals ever. People were howling with laughter. Pay attention to the clever takes on romance, flirting, relationships and marriage. Although some of the things are sad but true, that’s exactly what also makes them really funny.

With only seven cast members, you really get to know each character well during this more than two-hour feast.

Lady Bracknell, played with great verve by Laura Kenny (and dig her dresses!), is hilarious in her sternness.

Jason Collins is a delight as the fussy, trendy Algernon Moncrieff. (And how does he eat like that night after night and stay so slim, audience members wondered out loud.)

Clayton Corzatte, who plays two roles, Merriman and Lane, is very funny with his dry, yet smirky manner.

Angela DiMarco and Issaquah native Jennifer Lee Taylor, who play Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax, respectively, are simply delightful with their wit, joy and spark. And the second dress Taylor wears, marvelous.

Paul Morgan Stetler provides great belly laughs with his manner and charm as John Worthing, otherwise known as Ernest.

Jayne Muirhead, as Miss Prism, and Richard Ziman, as the Rev. Canon Chasuble, are like giddy children with each other and will make you smile every time they are onstage together.

Caroline Pinkers, 77, of Bellevue, who has had season tickets to Village Theatre for more than five years, loved the theater’s take on “Earnest.” And she knew whether the cast was doing well. After all, she’s seen the play “a number of times over the years.”

“The first time I saw it, I was in high school,” she said, taking a break from a book during one of the intervals. “And I’ve been going to see it off and on ever since.”

Aside from the witty one-liners, and complicated yet simple plot, this show features twists and turns you’ll predict, and some you never would.

Go see this show.

 

If you go

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Jan. 21-March 1

Francis J. Gaudette Theatre

303 Front St. N.

$22 – $58

392-2202 or  www.villagetheatre.org

 

Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or editor@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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