- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell
The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s incredibly witty play about the antics of a couple of British gentlemen in love in the 1890’s.
It seems to be as heterosexual as a play could be, but re-imagined by Queer Classics and director Casey Kringlen it is just as delightful as a play about two men in love with two other men. Indeed re-imagined is a big word for the process involved. Just substitute two men as Cecily and Gwendolyn, a few leers extra, and make no other changes, and the play, done seriously as it must be, is every bit as witty as ever and even a bit funnier.
Boone Platt is Jack, the young man who loves Gwendolen (Mason McCulley) but cannot marry her because her Aunt, the formidable and strongly opinionated Lady Bracknell (Nancy La Scala) does not approve of the fact that he has no parents. (He was adopted.)
Algernon (Philip Orazio) schemes to find out what his friend Jack does in the country and succeeds, meeting Cecily (Grant Jordan) and falling in love. Miss Prism (Megan Soule) and Dr. Chasuble are also on hand as the denouement occurs, with Eric DeLoretta doubling in the roles of Lane and Merriman, two very different valets who both have great lines.
The play, done in one act (and a little cut, without much harm) relies on one difference. The idea of two gentlemen marrying two others is never remarked, never even thought of. The objections raised to the two marriages, and the final resolution, are identical to the earlier version, and, frankly, everything is just as funny this way, right down to the final punning line that finishes the play.
Jack and Algernon carry the play with their serious and delightful straight faces, La Scala’s Lady Bracknell an elegantly dressed and properly fierce embodiment of Victorian propriety, and Jordan and McCulley frightfully precious as Cecily and Gwendolyn. This Earnest is a funny, bright trip through the Victorian sensibilities but with a wickedly humorous change.
Tickets are $15. Performances are June 19 at 8:30 p.m. and June 22 at 11 p.m.