Theatre Review: The Importance Of Being Earnest – The Mac
March 30, 2017 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
Does the idea of being serenaded by 7 identically dressed, and haired, Oscar Wildes sound appealing to you? Then Bruiser Company’s all-male take on ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’ is the play for you! As we enter the MAC the stage is set up like a blackened version of the stair scene from the film Labyrinth, reaching up high with stairs going up and down and left and right and sideways and basically every which way you can think of. In short order, our 7 players come out all dressed alike in period garb and identical wigs singing in harmony a song made up solely of his full name ‘Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde’. They then take to their stations around the constructed backdrop where they wait until it’s their time to appear on stage. They mimic the main character and repeat his lines at times. It’s bizarre, but as with most of the gambles that they’ve taken with Mr Wilde’s most famous play, it works. The other major gamble is making the production all male. I’m sure this is a choice not taken lightly and works in highlighting just some of the things that Wilde himself was experiencing throughout his lifetime, and very apt when performed in the only place in the British Isles where gay marriage is still not legal.
Purists will be glad to know the play itself stays intact and grounded to the original that Wilde penned, whereas younger audiences and non-purists will love the addition of the songs that add another layer of absurdity and serve as a way of incorporating more of Oscar in this play than ever before. The cast members are all fabulous and inhabit the roles given to them, especially Ross Anderson-Doherty who somewhat steals the show with a captivating turn as the firey rapid fire speaking Lady Bracknell.
What Bruiser have done is distill Oscar Wilde into a bottle before dousing a copy of The Importance Of Being Earnest in it and unleashing the results onto the audience with a piano and bravado and everything that I think Oscar would have loved. It made us laugh, it made us cry, it made us think about stuff, I’d say it was a job well done.
You can catch The Importance Of Being Earnest at The MAC until the 15th April.