Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 26°C

min temp: 12°C

Search

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, Red Rose Chgain, The Avenue Theatre, until April 9

PUBLISHED: 14:13 25 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:13 25 March 2017

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, staged by red Rose Chain at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich. Picture: BILL JACKSON

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, staged by red Rose Chain at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich. Picture: BILL JACKSON

Archant

Red Red Chain presents a definitely not to be missed, original and fabulously funny production of the Wilde comedy classic.

Gwendolen (Leonie Spilsbury) and Jack Worthing (Lawrence Russell) in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, staged by red Rose Chain at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich. Picture: BILL JACKSON Gwendolen (Leonie Spilsbury) and Jack Worthing (Lawrence Russell) in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, staged by red Rose Chain at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich. Picture: BILL JACKSON

After years of the patronising, fantasy upstairs downstairs world of Downton Abbey, Wilde’s satire on the upper classes still has real bite to it and is a real breath of fresh air. Merriman, the stoic butler, is placed at the heart of the piece. The play within a play is his story, set in the 1960s. Merriman, poignantly, struggles to understand the modern world, however his recall of his younger self and characters he served is vivid and comes to life with energy, verve and colour.

We are placed in the round, the audience is clearly lit, making the many asides intimate and suddenly these characters from a play feel almost human. Merriman’s memories hang on copper wires, his past represented by old black and white photographs and his present by record covers. It is a comment on the nature of growing old that the past and present although together seem to be realised as physically apart.

Every character in this production is spot on. Jo Carrick directs the pace exquisitely. Each pause and aside is so carefully timed and not one laugh is thrown. Jo as Lady Bracknell herself delivers a hugely controlled and finely balanced performance. Her daughter, Gwendoline (Leonie Spilsbury), is a hilarious, formidable mirror image of her mother, but Earnest/John (Lawrence Russell) can’t quite see it. The chemistry between the four ‘lovers’ is delightful. Joanna Sawyer as Cecily Cardew is sublimely nuanced as she reveals her fantasy engagement to the fantasy Earnest. The rhythm and musicality of the exchange between her and Laurence Pears (Algernon/Earnest) in this moment is simply perfect.

A highly recommended production.

Jackie Montague

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Barnum, the circus musical, that made Michael Crawford, a West End and Broadway star, is being revived in an ambitious production at the end of this month by the Ipswich Co-op Juniors. Alan Ayres spoke to two local aerial artists who have been recuited to handle some of the dazzling stunts in the show

A feisty Felixstowe audience gave Giovanni Pernice a little more than he bargained for on Wednesday as he brought his Born to Win tour to the Spa Pavilion.

Her stories are as familiar to parents and grandparents as they are to the generations of youngsters for whom they are required bedtime reading. As stage adaptation of some of her favourites head to the region, we discover the magic behind Julia Donaldson.

Miss Saigon star Ashley Gilmour - who plays American GI Chris - looks forward to playing every new venue on the musical’s mega tour - but Norfolk will be particularly special: it’s the place he calls home.

When the creator of smash 1970s sit-com Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em comes to see you bring it to life on the stage 13 times, you know you’re doing something right says Joe Pasquale.

It’s been 45 or so years since Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em blessed us with the complete daftness and hilarity of Michael Crawford’s Frank Spencer. He played a uniquely disastrous individual character that cannot be forgotten. Now imagine that today... on a live stage.

Suffolk’s Royal Ballet star Gary Avis receives an MBE “for services to Dance, and to charity in Suffolk”.

A two night stop at the Regent Theatre may not be the most rock ‘n’ roll sounding affair, but Bill Bailey brought the house down with his raucous brand of music-infused comedy.

Audiences will be going wild as X Factor winner Matt Terry will be starring in Madagascar the Musical, which comes to the Ipswich Regent from October 16-20.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24