Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest

Some of you may not know about this cool little program that Roundabout Theatre Company has called Hip Tix. It is for people who are ages 18-35 and you can get great seats to Roundabout shows for around $22. It’s free to enroll. If you live in the NYC area, or if you are planning on a vacation to NY, join! It’s a fantastic deal.

I start this post off with that little bit of information because Hip Tix is how I got my tickets to see The Importance of Being Earnest while I was in New York on vacation. Our seats were in the mid-mezzanine at the American Airlines Theatre, but the theater is small enough that even those seats are fantastic.

I went to see The Importance of Being Earnest knowing nothing about it, other than it was a straight play and a comedy. I have to say right away that I loved it. It was a laugh from start to finish. The show is basically set in England in the 1800’s and follows a couple of men who use aliases to become someone they aren’t. Their reasons are different. But the result is the same. Comedy, confusions, and mix-ups. The show is also very much a lesson in class divisions.

One of the greatest things about this show was that Lady Bracknell was played by Brian Bedford. Brian Bedford also directed the show. He is up for lead actor in a play for the role and I have to say the nomination is well deserved. Bedford gives a classic performance of a stodgy, upper class woman that is dead set against her daughter marrying out side of their own class.

Algernon Moncrieff is a well-to-do spoiled brat that gets a kick out of getting his way. Santino Fontana was fantastic in portraying this character with a sort of innocent, trouble maker persona. Even though you could easily hate a character that was so insistent about getting his way, Fontana made the character completely loveable.

John Worthing is a character who has created a fake brother in order for him to get away with things while he lives as “Earnest” and yet maintain his upstanding persona as John. David Furr was hilarious. He facial expressions were priceless and he, like Fontana, made you love a character that you might just hate because he’s lying so much.

The sets were huge on this set, and even though the show wasn’t extremely long, it required two intermissions for set changes. Pretty elaborate, but the sets were beautiful.

It’s worth seeing. Comedy and fun are throughout the show and it was nice to see another straight play on Broadway. The more plays I see on Broadway, the more willing I am to see them. I’ll admit, this formerly “musical only” girl may just be changing her mind.

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