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  • Pamela Froman

The Importance of Being Earnest


Love is full of mishaps in Oscar Wilde's wildly entertaining comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. This fun-filled romp sparkles with dazzling wordplay and hilariously unlikely situations.

In The Importance of Being Earnest two carefree bachelors, Jack and Algernon, each create a carefully hidden double life. Jack has been posing as a man named Earnest to disregard his obligations and escape to the city. In the country, he assumes a serious attitude for the benefit of his young ward, the heiress Cecily Cardew, and goes by the name of John (or Jack), while pretending to worry about a younger brother named Earnest in London. Algernon confesses a similar deception: He pretends to have an invalid friend named Bunbury in the country, whom he can “visit” whenever he wishes to avoid an unwelcome social obligation.


Jack desires nothing but to propose to Algernon's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. However he is thwarted by her mother, who dislikes his lack of parentage – he was found in a handbag at a train station. When Algernon discovers Jack's secret identity, he promptly travels to Jack's country estate to pose as the fictional figure of Earnest. While there, he falls in love with Cecily. In turn, both Gwendolen and Cecily love the idea of marrying a man named Earnest, a popular and respected name at the time and refuse to even think about marrying a man with another name. 


Nonsensical scenarios ensue with whimsical ingénues, jealous fiancées, indomitable dowagers, and the famous handbag. Set in late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the its satirical take on institutions like marriage. 


This production features a talented cast including: Riegan Sage as Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax, Megan Cochrane as Cecily Cardew, Bobby Slaski as Algernon Moncrieff, Michael Mullen as Lady Bracknell, Hans Obma as John Worthington, William Potter as Merriman the butler, John Sala as Rev. Cannon Chasauble, and Mouchette van Helsdingen as Miss Prism, the governess.

The gentlemen in the cast are quite hilarious in their delivery and machinations. Bobby Slaski as Algernon is most well-known for eating everything in sight, especially cucumber sandwiches. Hans Obma plays the love-sick, straight man of Jack to perfection. Riegen Sage as Gwendolen is the ideal Victorian lady and she truly flutters along the stage. As the innocent Cecily Megan Cochrane shines!


Michael Mullen is truly outstanding as the pompous Lady Bracknell who creates quite the figure herself, and of course the indomitable acting of William Potter as Merriman the butler, John Sala as Rev. Cannon Chasauble, and Mouchette van Helsdingen as Miss Prism, the governess round out the cast.


Lighting design is by Zad Potter and costume design is by three-time Ovation Award-winner Michael Mullen, who also serves as producer. The stage manager is Zad Potter and the director is Michael J. Marchak.


This production is a great time for all, especially if you are named Earnest!


The Importance of Being Earnest runs through March 31. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. $20. Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo Street, North Hollywood, 91602.


Purchase by calling (818) 605-5685 or online at www.crowncitytheatre.com

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