The Basildonians - The Importance of Being Earnest
15th to 17th November 2012.
From the Newbury Weekly News.
Is being Ernest really that important?
The Basildonians: The Importance of Being Earnest, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, from Wednesday, November 7 to Saturday, November 17
The short answer appears to be yes - if you're Lady Gwendolen or Cecily Cardew that is...
The Basildonians' production of The Importance of Being Earnest, at Basildon Village Hall, was a laugh-out-loud realisation of Oscar Wilde's 'satire of society', in which Adam Nightingale as Jack (Ernest) Worthing enabled the audience to feel the peaks and troughs of his attempted proposals to Lady Gwendolen.
His expressive eyes and good comic timing allowed us to experience his journey and will his good lady to see past the issues of a name.
Henri Bailey shone as Lady Gwendolen, with her bold costume reflecting the bold (and occasionally brash) elements of her character's nature. Always clear, she portrayed the humorous undertones that only Gwendolen seems to be able to get away with.
In complete contrast to Jack/Ernest, Tom Huelin created the dashing and charismatic Algernon. His contrast in character from act one to the loved-up version of himself in act three allowed us to see how the lad about town could become man of the house.
Liz Reed offered a sensitive but insightful character in Cecily, that spoke the truth and had the audience at her fingertips. She was offered a fantastic set to work with, tending to the real plants and being based in a beautiful garden setting. Her interactions with the likes of the Reverend Chasuble (Rhys Hamilton) and Miss Prism (Sue Matthews) were a joy.
Throughout the play, Nick Thorowgood and Chris Hawson offered us two completely different butlers, supporting the action on stage and allowing the audience to see what was ridiculous about the relationships being unravelled from an alternative class perspective.
Lady Bracknell (Sue Thorowgood) owned the stage with her presence from the 'handbag' to the Garden Room at Woolton, Lady B was always in control.
This production as a whole was well put together, with clear lighting and sound. The set had huge, well-executed adjustments between each act and with the painted backcloth in act three giving an air of Monet, we were drawn into what was a visually inviting performance.