The Importance of Being Earnest (2012) Reviews

“It is as if a grand Victorian dame has finally been allowed to unloosen her corset. London Classic Theatre’s production has unshackled Oscar Wilde’s comedy – which seems less a mannered drawing room farce as an exploration of one man’s quest for his own identity. Key to this is Paul Sandys’ stand-out turn as Jack Worthing, whose bewilderment about his past lends him a scratchy brittleness. Under the direction of Michael Cabot, these members of the English upper classes seem flesh and blood, rather than mere mouthpieces for Wilde’s sharpened wit. It remains extremely funny but there’s no sense of the lines being played for laughs. Lady Bracknell’s famed query – “A handbag?” – is a bewildered, dismayed question rather than an outraged shriek in Judith Paris’ icily measured performance. With Kerry Bradley’s artfully stripped back set – a group of chairs and a suspended trio of giant, fading roses – the attention is fully focused on these well-known characters.”
Will Ramsey – The Stage

“London Classic Theatre’s production is a pleasure to watch. Judith Paris is an excellent Lady Bracknell, Ashley Cook and Paul Sandys are an elegant pair as Algernon and Jack, Helen Keeley and Helen Phillips are charming as Gwendolyn and Cecily. Laoisha O’Callaghan is a faintly Irish Miss Prism, with Peter Cadden as a suitably bumbling Canon Chasuble. And lovely to see an accomplished cast perform a familiar play with such wonderful comic timing.”
Pippa Munro Hebden – Clitheroe Advertiser

“It must be tempting when putting on a really well known play, done thousands of times before, to mess with it a bit. But sometimes, nothing can beat a really well done, faithful, thoughtful interpretation. Director Michael Cabot’s version of Oscar Wilde’s comedy falls into this latter category. A lot about this production – performances, costume, set – displays an understated attention to detail.”
Tom Brooks-Pollock – Manchester Evening News

“Paul Sandys’ wonderful Jack Worthing is the standout feature. His Jack is a man who has no sense of self – no identity – nothing to cling on to. He’s adrift and baffled by a world he doesn’t quite understand, desperate to fit in but not sure how to go about it – or if he’s even entitled to do so. It’s this nuanced performance that gives this Earnest an emotional depth that you may not find again. When Sandys introduces Algernon repeatedly as “My unfortunate brother!” it’s with the wide-eyed wonder of a man who’s just been handed everything he’s ever wanted, all at once. As an audience, it’s impossible not to feel utterly delighted for him. It’s that sense that it’s okay to feel something for these characters that’s the real beauty here. There’s a truthfulness to it; these characters are real people with real lives and real emotions, and there’s something delicious about an interpretation of a Wilde classic that prioritises substance over style, rather than the other way around.”
Emma Holland – StageWon

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