The Importance of Being Earnest at NWTGBy Laura & Mike Clark • Nov 15th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the NoVa Woodbridge Theatre Group’s production of the Importance of Being Earnest [MP3 5:49 1.7MB].
Mike: The Importance of Being Earnest is a play written by Oscar Wilde. It was written in the 1890’s and takes place in London. It revolves around John Worthing who says he has a brother living in London. He has to go visit him frequently. And when he’s in London, he visits him friend Algernon Moncrief who also has a friend living in the country who he goes to visit so he can get out of unpleasant social situations in the city. Of course they each fall in love with someone at the other place. It all comes to a head when they all end up together in the country. They all pretend they are someone by the name of “Earnest.”
Laura: I had a good time with this show this afternoon. I enjoyed watching everybody because everybody seemed to work well together. Many of the actors and actresses had performed in previous NoVa Woodbridge Theatre productions as well as local community theaters. I enjoyed how they all worked well together and seem to have a good time.
Mike: The show was pretty good. It is a comedy and the humor seemed to come across pretty well. It was kind of a small audience and so nobody was quite sure at the beginning if it was ok to laugh? Finally people just started laughing and that worked really well. You can kind of see that the laughter picked up the actors. If you go see this show, which we encourage you to do, make sure you laugh because it’s ok.
Laura: Algernon Moncrief, the aristocrat who would retire to the country to get away from the hectic city life was played by Jay Mahan. He did a really good job. He had a lot of expression. There was one kind of oops at the beginning of the play and he covered it, I thought really well and went right on.
Mike: The role of John Worthing, the rich gentleman from the country who made up the brother living in the city, Earnest, was played by Alejandro Matias. Matias did a pretty good job, although a few times he kind of stumbled and then it seemed like he got nervous a couple times and started speaking really quickly. This is one of his first roles he’s done on stage. Just with experience that will get a lot better.
Laura: And Lady Bracknell was played by Sallie Willows. She did a good job. She was definitely the uptight lady of the house who wanted her daughter to marry just the right person and wasn’t too sure about John Worthing. If he was good enough for her daughter or not. But I really like her performance a lot. Again a lot of expression.
Mike: Gwendolyn Fairfax, the daughter of Lady Bracknell was played by Magenta Brooks. She did a great job. She just had this presence on stage of just stateliness and, “I know what’s right.” It was really quite stunning to watch her on stage maneuvering and kind of twisting the guys and being manipulative a bit, but she did it nicely so you didn’t mind. And that was really good characterization that she gave that role.
Laura: And Cecily Cardew, the ward of John Worthing and the fiance of Algernon Moncrief was played by Michel Izquieta. She did a really nice job. She played the young eighteen year old girl and she played it really well. She had the starry eyes and the lovelorn look every time she looked at Algernon and she carried that really well. She was a lot of fun to watch.
Mike: Cicely’s Governess, Miss Prism, was played by Jamie Bartosavage Erdman. She did an ok job. There was one scene near the end when Lady Bracknell had called her in to have a meeting and Jamie’s face just hit the floor. It was like, “Oh no.” It was like Laura just mentioned to me the jig is up. She knew that she had ben caught and found out for something that had happened years ago. She did that scene really well.
Laura: And the reverend Canon Causable was played by Brett Bartosavage. He did a good job. This was a small role for him, but he played it well.
Mike: And the Butler Lane and the Butler Merriman were both played by Maurico Perez. He did a pretty good job. He had a few scenes where he had to take the blame for something that wasn’t his fault. He gave the best expressions of, “I know it’s not my fault, but I’ll say it’s my fault.” It was just a really a great expression that he gave to the master at that point.
Laura: There was a wide range of experience on this stage. From people that have done professional shows to several community theater shows for years. It’s a really good place to learn all parts of the theater. Not only the acting, but also the backstage, lights, sound, all that kind of stuff, too. It’s a really good place to get started in something like a community college like NoVa Woodbridge.
Mike: The set for the Importance of Being Earnest was very simple. It was a black backdrop around and then they had some chairs that they moved around for the different scenes. That was it. There were a few different set pieces that they would walk through and walk around, but it was very simple. One thing that kind of slowed the show down a little bit were the scene changes. There was no extra stage crew available. All the actors had to move the prop pieces on and off. That’s just a disadvantage of a small theater group, but it wasn’t like it broke the scene. It did slow things down just a little bit.
Laura: The Importance of Being Earnest is playing for one more weekend. Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM at the Northern Virginia Community College Campus in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.