Skip to main content

The Importance of Being Earnest

Perth Theatre
Four stars

Don’t be fooled by the Palm Court style pre-show music for Lu Kemp’s pared-down production of Oscar Wilde’s cut-glass classic. The sounds get a whole lot livelier by the end. As indeed do the goings on between Grant O’Rourke and Daniel Cahill’s confirmed bachelors Algernon and Jack - or is it? - and the objects of their affection, Gwendolen and Cecily, brought to posh-frocked life by Caroline Deyga and Amy Kennedy.

A whole lot of town and country planning goes into the dynamic duo’s respective attempts at wooing, as they attempt to lead double lives in order to get their way without being found out. Cecily and Gwendolen, meanwhile, bat out their two-faced politesse through gritted teeth over afternoon tea. They’re not a patch, however, on Lady Bracknell, magnificently embodied here by Karen Dunbar as a fur coat and nae knickers upwardly mobile WAG, whose Kelvinside accent only slips enough to reveal her roots on her revelatory handbag line.

Artifice is everything in Wilde’s play, which Kemp and use as a serious virtue. As Jamie Vartan’s increasingly uncluttered set moves from Algie’s booze-lined pad to leafy English garden, the green screen at the back of the stage suggests anything and everything can be projected onto the ensuing shenanigans. As all bar Dunbar double up as assorted servants and guardians without any attempt to disguise the quick changes afoot, it’s as if the two would-be couples were dress-rehearsing an elaborate game of let’s pretend.

If O’Rourke and Cahill embody the lackaday entitlement of bored toffs at play, their female counterparts form a similar double act of opposites, with Deyga and Kennedy’s Gwendolen and Cecily equally up for fun. As Lady Bracknell, Dunbar is a picture of barely restrained joie de vivre. Judging by the show’s Crackerjack style finale, given half the chance, she’d gladly let her hair down and go wild in town, country and anywhere else that might have her.

The Herald, March 15th 2020



Val said…
Great production of a Wilde Classic! Lu Kemp did well.

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

1. THE STONE ROSES  - Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3  - Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART  - Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS  - Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY - Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!  - Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS - I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS - In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES  - Everso 10. THE SEERS  - Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND - You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS - We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE  - Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS  - Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND - In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES - Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS  - Justice In Freedom (12" Version)

1. THE STONE ROSES Don’t Stop ( SilvertoneORE1989)
The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds like it. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire met in 1980 at Altrincham Grammar School. With bassist …