Wilde classic makes a comeback
Adelaide theatregoers can look forward to one of the wittiest plays in the English language being performed by the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild in May.
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest is being brought to stage under the guidance of experienced director June Barnes and her offsider Ann Weaver, a seasoned actor who makes her directorial debut with Wilde's masterpiece.
Written in record time by the 19th century playwright, The Importance of Being Earnest is a witty observation of the late Victorian era, poking fun at marriage, morality and class.
"It is a very funny play, full of one-liners, puns and double entendres. A lot of people seeing it for the first time may not pick up on all the witticisms, but will still find it extremely enjoyable," Ann said.
Generally considered to be Wilde's best work, The Importance of Being Earnest showcases some of Adelaide's most talented young actors.
British-trained actor David Thring plays Jack Worthing, one of the two male leads, alongside Andrew Lawlor, a GP in real life, who uses his wicked sense of humour to great effect as the irrepressible Algernon.
Pam O'Grady, well-known to South Australian theatre buffs, takes the part of Lady Bracknell who delivers what is claimed to be the most interpreted line in English drama: "A handbag."
The phrase - referring to the handbag in which Jack Worthing was found as a toddler at a railway station - has reportedly given rise to the most varied readings, ranging from incredulous thought, to a scandalised expression, to just plain baffled.
"We have chosen the cast very carefully because this is a well-known play and a lot of the audience will have high expectations," June said.
"The onus is on us, as directors, to ensure that the actors deliver their lines in sympathy with the script, the Victorian era and the English aristocracy."
This is only the second time the Theatre Guild has performed Wilde's most famous play - the first production was in 1957.
June said audiences could expect "a great night out, with lots of laughs".
"It will also be a visual feast because the set is very colourful, based on impressionistic painters, and the actors will be dressed in period costume."
Story by Candy Gibson
The Importance of Being Earnest will play at the Little Theatre, Cloisters, at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace Campus on May 5, 8-12 and 15-19 at 7.30pm.
Tickets ($25 and $20 concession) can be booked at BASS on 131 246, the Guild office (08) 8303 5999 or the website: www.adelaide.edu.au/theatreguild
University of Adelaide staff and students can buy tickets for $15 on Tuesday 8 and 15 May.