Saturday February 24th 2018

“The Importance of Being Earnest”

Drawing Room comedies are difficult to pull off. Most theater companies avoid them completely as they require actors and a director who truly understand what makes them work. Writers Theatre and its artistic director Michael Halberstam have proven over and over that they are in fact the premium venue for these types of productions and continue to do so with their revival of Oscar Wilde’s classic piece “The Important of Being Earnest”. This play has been called “one of the cleverest comedies ever written by one of the greatest writers in the English Language”. Writers has waited a long time to get this on their stage and based on what Director Halberstam says, when the perfect cast is found, that is the time to grace the stage with what might be called the perfect comedy.

For those unfamiliar with the cleverness of the story, let me tell you that it is about two young English gentlemen, Algernon Moncrieff ( another incredible performance by Steve Haggard) and his friend, John Worthing ( Chicago favorite Alex Goodrich who consistently shows us the  comic talents he possesses). Both of these men are living a sort of “double life” aided by a fictional character named “Earnest”. During the course of this three act play with a magnificent set designed by  Collette Pollard, each of these young men falls in love with proper young women that causes them to have a major problem. It seems that John’s true love, who believes that he is his brother Earnest, is in love with the name Earnest. Gwendolen ( a sparkling performance by Jennifer Latimore).

Algernon who goes to the home of Worthing pretends to be Earnest in order to woo Worthing’s ward, Cecily (adorably portrayed by Rebecca Hurd). She also loves the name Earnest! What we have are two men pretending to be someone else and the identity crisis that causes confusion among the characters. Both of these men are also tied to the matronly Lady Bracknell ( deftly handled by Shannon Cochran), who would be the decider of whether or not they can wed the young women that they have chosen. Mixed in with this story is Miss Prism (Anita Chandwaney) and her beau, Reverend Canon Chasuble ( Aaron Todd Douglas) who have their own story to tell and during the third act reveal  surprises that bring closure to all of the mysterious little stories that have been presented.

Both of these households have butlers and just to add a little spice to the mix, Halberstam has cast the very comical Ross  Lehman in both roles. Everyone who has seen this actor on any stage knows that he is full of surprises in his character development and once again, he brings us two delicious characters that are opposite each other. As I said earlier, I can see why Writers chose to do the show now- they had the perfect group of performers to pull it off. I think Wilde is smiling over this lavishly done production that would make a writer proud. The technical aspects are sheer perfection as well” Mara Blumenfeld’s costumes are enchanting, John Culbert’s lighting, illuminating, Josh Schmidt’s sound perfect and Scott Dickens’ props extraordinary. The incidental music used in this production sets the tone. From start to finish, two-hours-fifteen-minutes, one’s mind is taken away from reality and brought into the lives of these young people seeking their life’s lot- filled with craziness and zany situations, a solid evening of theater awaits you at Writers Theatre in Glencoe with this comedy.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will continue through  December 23rd at Writers located at 25 Tudor Court in Glencoe with performances as follows:

Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays   7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

There are some additional Wednesday matinees at 3 p.m. check with box office

Tickets range from $35- $80 and are available at the box office, by calling 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org

Plenty of FREE Parking in Glencoe and the train station (Metra) is walking distance.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Importance of Being Earnest”

 

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