Review: The Importance of Being Earnest at the UO Theatre

Posted by Hannah Taylor and Savannah Wasserman on Sunday, Apr. 28 at 6:39 pm.

The auditorium was filled with laughter and joy as cast and crew of “The Importance of Being Earnest” took center stage for their first live performance.

From the start, the energy between the nine cast members and the crowd is prominent; through the witty dialogue, continuous punch lines, old English accents and individual character development, the classic story of Oscar Wilde unfolded.

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” a so-called “trivial comedy for serious people,” is a production set in 1895 London. The outrageous, romantic, classic comedy is about morals, manners and other matters of importance relevant to the Victorian era. The play revolves around a group of the fashionable, well-to-do crowd and acts as a social commentary on London’s high-class society.

In the course of three acts, separated by brief intermissions, the director, Kirk Boyd, strives to stay true to the original and classical storyline while still creating a fun and energetic performance.

“I believe that performing really good classical plays teaches discipline and responsibility,” Boyd said. “This is a great play that requires great concentration and incredible discipline, and that’s what these students have shown me.”

Stealing the show, Algernon, performed by UO junior, Sunil Homes and Jack, performed by sophomore, Alec Crisman, use the same fictitious name of Ernest to avoid relevant social obligations. As the play progresses each impersonated man falls in love with a different woman and things begin to go awry, leading the audience to engage in a brilliant comedy of misguided identities.

“I really like having fun with an audience and having fun with the people onstage. It is absolute fun. And I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Homes said. “I would just hope that whoever watches it really takes something positive away from it and it lightens their heart once they leave”

Both female roles, Gwendolen, performed by sophomore Naomi Wright and Cecily, performed by sophomore Kelly Young, with their brilliantly fabricated Victorian costumes and quirky personalities captivated the female audience. Their comedic relationship with each other and outrageous standards in men filled the auditorium with laughter and disbelief.

“It is just one of those shows where it is just funny, it’s a great show to do and with the cast and the crew it was definitely a blessing,” Young said. “Of course I identify with Cecily, I mean who doesn’t!”

Taking the most prominent and memorable role, UO senior Olivia Walton, portrayed the part of Lady Bracknell in an incredibly impressive manner. Her energy and commitment to the role brought each character together in a most peculiar and intriguing way.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” offers a refreshing rendition of Oscar Wilde’s original show and was performed with elegance and high energy that the audience could feel.