BWW Review: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, Perth Theatre
During a week when comedian Joe Lycett legally changed his name by deed poll to Hugo Boss, ever dedicated to his craft, it felt fitting to see a revival of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. The comedy about identity and the elite has been revived at Perth Theatre.
Lu Kemp's direction makes the most of every moment and has the audience in stitches throughout. The decision to use Scottish accents for the majority of the characters heightens the fierceness and passion in the escalating conversations.
Daniel Cahill plays the multi-faceted sides of Jack, exhibiting a spectrum of emotion, from sombre and sincere to exasperated and impassioned. Caroline Deyga is endearingly elegant as Gwendolyn, delivering a wittily comical performance.
The brilliant Karen Dunbar revels in the role of Lady Bracknell, from her disapproving glares to commanding struts around the stage. Amy Kennedy is delightfully whimsical as young fantastical Cecily. Grant O'Rourke steals many scenes as Algernon in his playful nature. The cast are clearly having a lot of fun on the stage.
The choice to have the five actors juggle all nine parts matches the play's theme of wearing multiple masks but may have been most effective if each actor had only taken on one additional role each.
Jamie Vartan's brightly coloured box set transports the audience to luxe lounges and lush gardens laden with tropical leaves and roses. The costumes match each character and certainly help with the higher than usual degree of juggling parts.
Lighting by Ben Ormerod bathes the stage in sunshine in the garden scenes, backlit with bright blue and green hues. Lighting cues neatly bookended the three acts.
The unique surprise post-play ending of this production is thoroughly enjoyed by the audience who ravel in the antics and self-inflicted misfortunes of Jack and Algernon. In a week of tense news, this revival is a colourful burst of comic relief.
The Importance of Being Earnest at Perth Theatre until 21 March
Photography credit: Mihaela Bodlovic