THEATRE REVIEW: The Importance of Being Ernest ★★
The Importance of Being Ernest
The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
29th September 2015
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest has always been seen as such a national treasure in the world of Theatre, with even 2 productions of the play happening within the city within the past few weeks, but this version was one that was transferred from the west end, starring Nigel Havers, Martin Jarvis, and Sian Phillips, among many others that make up this splendid, hilarious production.
You get the sense of something wonderful about to happen on stage as soon as you walk into the auditorium though, before the action starts, as you witness an extravagant and creative set, really looking like the inside of a estate house. It really is a delight, and was still stunning to look at when I became disconnected from the play, so a big mention should go to the set designer for designing such a glorious set!
Set in 1895, this version was a tiny bit different, as in fact it was set in the present day, 2015. Opening up with the actors coming on stage with scripts in hand, rehearsing their lines, this production is set as a dress rehearsal for the show, before it transfers to the theatre 'tomorrow'. Now though I have not seen the production before, those who I spoke to who had really gave a mixed reception over this bold change, though this really made no difference to me as I really enjoyed this adaptation of a classic.
The plot is brilliant and complex, but not so much that you get lost within the many characters of the show, though I did feel like they really lost the sense of fun with the dress rehearsal concept when they almost forgot that they could add more mishaps and breaking their characters to talk as actors themselves to each other.
Overall, The Importance of Being Ernest was a fun, enjoyable production which had me in hysterics throughout, but really thought it lost its spark which took this adaptation in a bold and creative light!