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McLean Community Players The Importance of Being Earnest

By • Oct 5th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
McLean Community Players
Alden Theatre, McLean, VA
Through October 10th
$15/$13 Seniors and Students
2:25, with one intermission and one pause
Reviewed October 2nd, 2009

The Importance of Being Earnest is a play by Oscar Wilde. Two English gentlemen amuse themselves with false identities and fictional friends. However their secrets are revealed and in the end they all live happily ever after.

This production was slow-paced, with long stretches of time with actors remaining stationary. The second act had a bit more movement, but there was still a fair amount of talking heads with little blocking, though the actors’ acceptance and delivery of Wilde’s humorous lines made up for simple design decisions.

Algernon a.k.a “Earnest” was played by Adam Downs. Downs exuded a care-free and almost devilish delight in trying to make his friend squirm. His mannerisms and walk were light hearted and comical. He had a good rapport with his love, the innocent Cecily (Jenna Allen). Allen had some pretty good lines which she delivered with as much speed as one could generate with a British accent.

Algernon’s friend and partner in crime was Jack also known as “Earnest,” played by Matthew Scarborough. Scarborough had some of the best expressions particularly in the second act when he realized the Ernest that he just announced was dead walked into the room and announced himself. He seemed to always being aware of what was going on around him and reacted accordingly. His love was the city girl Gwendolen (Heather Benjamin). Benjamin sailed on stage with an air that seemed to say “I know what I want.” Benjamin and Scarborough also were able to handle each other nicely.

Columba Hoban as Lady Bracknell was no non-sense, domineering. Her ability to spout off insults couched as wisdom and fact was given laughter by the audience. Dinnie Whitson‘s set was minimalist, in shades of black and white. Adding flowers in the second act did bring some much needed color to the country house. Susan Boyd‘s gorgeous costumes were a pleasure to watch, although again in shades of gray.

Director Carol Strachan made a few intriguing choices in this production, such as the simple color scheme and basic blocking. However Wilde’s humor does shine through.

Photo Gallery

Alex Bhargava Adam Downs
Alex Bhargava
Adam Downs
Heather Benjamin Columba Hoban
Heather Benjamin
Columba Hoban
Cheryl Sinsabaugh Heather Benjamin & Matthew Scarborough
Cheryl Sinsabaugh
Heather Benjamin & Matthew Scarborough
Columba Hoban Matthew Scarborough, Adam Downs & Jenna Allen
Columba Hoban
Matthew Scarborough, Adam Downs & Jenna Allen
Jenna Allen & Adam Downs Adam Downs & Matthew Scarborough
Jenna Allen & Adam Downs
Adam Downs & Matthew Scarborough
Columba Hoban, Heather Benjamin, Matthew Scarboro Columba Hoban
Columba Hoban, Heather Benjamin, Matthew Scarboro
Columba Hoban
Matthew Scarborough, Adam Downs Adam Downs & Jenna Allen
Matthew Scarborough, Adam Downs
Adam Downs & Jenna Allen

Photos provided by the McLean Community Players


  • Lane: Alex Bhargava
  • Algernon: Adam Downs
  • Jack: Matthew Scarborough
  • Lady Bracknell: Columba Hoban
  • Gwendolen: Heather Benjamin
  • Miss Prism: Cheryl Sinsabaugh
  • Cecily: Jenna Allen
  • Rev. Canon Chasuble: John Barclay Burns
  • Merriman: Nick Matich
  • Footman: Alex Bhargava


  • Director: Carol Strachan
  • Producer: Terry Yates
  • Technical Director: Bob Zeigler
  • Stage Manager: Douglas F. Yriart
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Shayne Gardner
  • Set Designer: Dinnie Whitson
  • Lighting Designer: Chris Hardy
  • Master Electrician: Bob Zeigler
  • Master Carpenter: George Farnsworth
  • Costume Designer: Susan Boyd
  • Sound Designer: Anna Hawkins
  • Props: Emily Besuden
  • Hair Design/Stylist/Makeup: Paul Mitchell The School Virginia
  • Set Dressing: Beth Doyle
  • Accent Coaches: John Barclay Burns, Carol Strachan, Columba Hoban, Cherl Sinsabaugh
  • Backstage Techs: Jayn Rife, Emily Besuden, Jean Matich, Angelica Totten, Mary Renschler, Zack Sanders
  • Publicity: Cathy Farnsworth, Mike Scott
  • Playbill/Photography/Website: George Farnsworth
  • Front of House Manager: Tula Pendergrast
  • Construction/Painting: George Farnsworth, Bob Zeigler, Bill Glikbarg, Dick La Porte, Mike Scott, Cathy Farnsworth, Dinnie Whitson, Terry Yates, Joan Darnell
  • Auditions: Beth Doyle, Bill Doyle, Tula Pendergrast, Candice Newman, Bob Greenspan
  • Seamstresses: Nancy Perry, Sandy Eggleston
  • Opening Night Party: Cathy Farnsworth
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