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Boundary Players - The Importance of Being Earnest

5th to 9th May 2015.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Familiarity of being Ernest

Boundary Players: The Importance of Being Earnest, at the William Penney Theatre, Tadley, from Tuesday, May 5, to Saturday, May 9

With such a well-known classic comedy as this, you know pretty much what to expect. Expected are the jokes like: all women become like their mothers, that is their tragedy, no man ever does, that is his!

The wit and smoothness of all the characters, all of them reflecting their creator Oscar Wilde, and the actor playing Lady Bracknell delivering the 'handbag' line in a voice that stops everybody in their tracks, Boundary Players played it pretty much straight ahead, with few variations on the standard production package.

Alan Munday and Steve Schollar, as the two leading men, did the jokes and the banter effectively although both looked a little too old for their supposed late-20s. Sue Barham worked hard as Lady Bracknell but lacked a little authority essential for this part and should have learned her lines a little better. Andy Abbott and Richard Mier made the most of the servant roles, which wasn't much but Richard played up the 'no cucumbers to be had, not even for ready money' for all it was worth.

David White and Louise Hayling played the Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism double act quite well but the acting honours went to Emily Browne and Francesca Nunn as the two young ladies, Gwendolyn and Cicely. Both of them looked and sounded just right and they made the most of Wilde's witty dialogue and when necessary they managed to keep perfectly still on stage which the two leading men were never quite able to do.

The only problem with this classic is that everybody knows it so well that audiences start laughing at the beginning of the jokes rather than the punch lines. This happened a lot on Friday evening. But then the play has had thousands of productions since first night in 1895.

The sets were minimal but effective, conveying the places and times reasonably well. Costumes were adequate but, to paraphrase Lady Bracknell, I feel that any more criticism from myself might expose me to comment in the Boundary Players theatre.