Monday, April 24, 2006

Earnest Reviews

Earnest's lukewarm reviews - Such a shame it's one of my favorites!

From Newsday (Rob Kendt) "No comedy was ever less dependent on plot mechanics for its laughs than Oscar Wilde's 1895 masterpiece "The Importance of Being Earnest." A nearly unbroken stream of cool and clarifying wit, it is a piece of music more than a play, with its brilliant dialogue, as critic Eric Bentley pointed out, running in "ironic counterpoint with the absurdities of the action."

The silly plot is too prominent and the counterpoint not very crisp in director Peter Hall's middling, faintly tedious production of "Earnest," now making a stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theatre. It's partly a casting problem: In the key role of Jack, the humorless foundling who leads a double life for disappointingly unscandalous reasons, James Waterston has a promisingly stiff, lanky physique, but he struggles strenuously with his English accent and hits one tiresome note of effortful indignance throughout. To paraphrase the play's Lady Bracknell, he looks everything and has nothing."

Charles Isherwood from NYTimes "A cordial acquaintance with Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest" should probably be a prerequisite for participation in polite society.

New Yorkers who have not yet had the pleasure should therefore pay a visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where a perfectly respectable production of Wilde's masterwork from 1895, directed by the venerable Peter Hall and featuring Lynn Redgrave as the peerlessly imperious Lady Bracknell, opened Wednesday night at the Harvey Theater.

... Sir Peter's new staging of this decorously radical comedy is satisfactory, but something short of brilliant."

Earnest Old Fashioned Wit!

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