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Ballarat National Theatre

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THE IMPORTANTCE OF BEING EARNEST

 

Performance Dates

2015

Cast

John (Jack/Earnest) Worthing J.P. Peter Vanderkley
Algernon Moncrieff Kristopher White
Gwendolen Fairfax Laura Hudson
Cecily Cardew Petea Stark
Lady Augusta Bracknell Jane Gaylor
Miss Prism Christine Holmes
Rev. Canon Chasuble D.D. Paul Rose
Lane/Merriman Lee Taylor
Footman Hedley Thomson

Production Credits

Director Hedley Thomson
Designed Peter Nethercote
Production Manager Sally Read
Stage Manager Beth Foyster
Switchboard Robyn Ashmore
Sound Michael Zala
L.X. Rig and Focus Liam Mudge
Costume Design Kate Sullivan and Peter Nethercote
Makeup Amelia Collier
Set Construction Robin Philip
Graphics Sally Read and Brian McClelland
Program Sally Read
Photography

Gary Hunt

Foyer Design Robyn Ashmore and BNT members
Front of House Yvonne Downing and BNT members
Pre-Production

Robyn Ashmore, Simon Caroll, Brian McClelland, Clare Lacey, Yvonne Downing, Andrew Henwood, Chris Holmes, Steve Holmes, John Krul, Peter Nethercote, Peter Nutall, Marg O’Hanlon, Robin Phillip, Sally Read, Gaven Stephens, Hedley Thomson, Michael Zala and the Publicity Committee

Gallery

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Theatre Review

Reviewer: Gail Sjogren

Earnest - An Oldie but a Goodie

What makes a play a perennial favourite with audiences? Whatever the magic formula, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest certainly has it, as it remains an audience drawcard more than a hundred years after its author’s death.

The rules and rituals of Victorian high society are exaggerated and the characters are larger than life but remain recognisably people with whom we can identify and chuckle. The dialogue is extremely clever and we hesitate to laugh out loud for fear of missing the next line. This production, directed by Hedley Thomson, maintains the exceedingly high standards of recent BNT offerings and is sure to provide a thoroughly enjoyable and laughter-packed evening.

Peter Nethercote’s elegant sets capture the ambience of Victorian upper-class society with dramatic flair while the costumes are stunning. Even the set changes are part of the entertainment. The accents never falter as an immensely talented cast deliver those well-known lines and remind us of the wittiness for which Wilde was so renowned.

Peter Vanderkley as upright and decent Jack, and Kristopher White as the lovable rogue Algernon, are perfectly contrasted as their secret lives are revealed. Their lady loves played by Laura Hudson as the socially aware Gwendolen, and Petea Stark as deceptively simple Cecily, provide an equally well-balanced contrast. Paul Rose’s Canon Chasuble is suitably pompous, Christine Holmes’ simpering Miss Prism is a delight and I really enjoyed Lee Taylor’s two contrasting man-servant roles. And what of Lady Augusta Bracknell, one of the best known characters in theatre? Jane Gaylor is perfect in the role, bringing fresh life to those wonderful lines and quelling all comers with a single haughty glance.

My companion at the preview performance was an 18- year-old who knew nothing of the play, while I know it very well. We were equally entertained and amused which rather goes to show that Earnest has in no way lost its appeal. A night out here will provide a very pleasant break in this sometimes frantic lead-up to Christmas.