Each jewel of wit is polished apple-bright, and every performer is playing in the same key. Forget literary interpretation, forget clenched internal acting: There's great damned musicianship here, and the joy of sheer comic virtuosity. For this we must thank, again, Brian Bedford, who pulls off actor-director double duty with uncommon grace.
The Importance of Being Earnest on Broadway Reviews
Reviews of The Importance of Being Earnest on Broadway. See what all the critics had and read all the reviews for The Importance of Being Earnest including the New York Times and More...
From: New York Magazine | By: Scott Brown | Date: 01/13/2011
From: Backstage | By: David Sheward | Date: 01/14/2011
For a lesson in playing brittle and brilliant farce, head to the American Airlines Theatre for a near-perfect staging of "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde's whimsical 1895 classic. Director Brian Bedford, who is also starring in drag as Lady Bracknell, remembers that Wilde originally subtitled his play "A Serious Comedy for Trivial People." Bedford has his company play the shallow objectives of the upper-crust Victorian characters with complete seriousness, rather than going for the obvious laughs. Highly stylized and sleekly staged, this is probably the funniest and sharpest production of the comedy, a favorite on regional and community stages, I've ever seen.
From: New York Times | By: Charles Isherwood | Date: 01/13/2011
Mr. Bedford's production is not entirely effortless - Wilde's rococo style can be daunting even to experienced classicists - but it is more buoyant and consistently funny than any I've seen. And as Lady Bracknell, Mr. Bedford presides at the cathedral's altar with supreme skill and stylishness - and a hint of substance too. It's one of the great performances of the season; to miss it would most definitely look like carelessness.
From: The Hollywood Reporter | By: David Rooney | Date: 01/13/2011
Bedford unleashes a limitless arsenal of variations on dry disapproval and can do wonders with a pause or vocal fluctuation of a half-octave or so. Mulling whether Jack is worth adding to her list of eligible bachelors, Lady Bracknell's grilling of him is comedy at its most sublime. But then, Bedford's every line in this entertaining revival is a jewel.
From: New Jersey Newsroom | By: Michael Sommers | Date: 01/13/2011
How lovely it must be to encounter this wonderful comedy for the first time - and in such a pleasant production as this one, which isn't flawless but certainly offers a nimble, clearly spoken rendering of the piece in pretty circumstances.
From: am New York | By: Matt Windman | Date: 01/13/2011
This results in a brilliant performance that is just as hilarious as it is utterly convincing. Those who forget to read the Playbill might not even realize that the role is being played by a man, which is perhaps the greatest compliment that Bedford can receive.
From: Associated Press | By: Mark Kennedy | Date: 01/13/2011
While it's fashionable these days to have the monstrous Bracknell tackled by a man, Bedford never seems tempted by the drag casting to veer toward camp, even when served up some of the best Wildean lines. His lips perpetually pursed as if sucking on a lemon, Bedford scowls and peers imperiously without ever betraying his real chromosomal makeup, even winkingly.
From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 01/13/2011
Bedford may be the star of this vehicle, but he's shrewd enough to surround himself with sturdy backup, none cleverer at their jobs than Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead, a dynamite comic duo as the lovesick tutor Miss Prism and the obtuse vicar, the Reverend Canon Chasuble. As the arbiter of all matters of good taste, even the uncompromising Lady Bracknell would agree that, from top to bottom, this is one fine cast.
From: New York Post | By: Elisabeth Vincentelli | Date: 01/13/2011
Luckily, in this Roundabout revival, Lady Bracknell is played by Brian Bedford. She couldn't be in better hands. The 75-year-old star -- who also directs -- is consistently funny without resorting to camp or caricature. He's a master of the precise pause and the arched eyebrow, evoking laughter simply by dropping his voice an octave on a word. Floating onstage like a galleon in full sail (excellent costumes by Desmond Heeley), he basically plays the Gorgon straight.
From: New York Daily News | By: Joe Dziemianowicz | Date: 01/14/2011
"The Importance of Being Earnest" turns 116 next month, and the old joker is surprisingly spry. Though the new Broadway revival of Oscar Wilde's satire isn't quite a nonstop delight -- it takes too long to rev up -- it makes for an enjoyable evening.
From: Time Out New York | By: David Cote | Date: 01/14/2011
An optimal revival of The Importance of Being Earnest ought to be an utter waste of time, and therefore wholly delightful. Forgive the sub-Wildean quippery, but who wouldn’t want to fritter away hours, ignorantly, due to narcotizing joy? If our lives must dribble away on a temporal plane, let it be a high-flying plane, one that zooms off and leaves us transported. By that standard, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s semi-import (two of its actors and half of its design originated in Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival) is stuck somewhere between strolling and soaring. It’s pleasant, but doesn’t waste one’s time quite well enough.
From: Bloomberg News | By: Jeremy Gerard | Date: 01/14/2011
Bedford is purse-lipped and aloof as Lady Bracknell, a gorgon of mock-scandalized calm floating through Desmond Heeley’s sensuous sets. A profusion of roses spills like raindrops in the garden scene and the young ladies-in-waiting (for marriage) are dollishly trussed by Heeley in white and pink. The uneven cast is brightened by two other fine veterans, Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead, as the dour Miss Prism and the befuddled Reverend Chasuble. They add the dose of satire the production otherwise lacks.