Girl Power at its Best
| By Carole Lovstrom
The Importance of Being Earnest was a triumph for the ladies I believe. The whole cast gave strong performances, but I really think the women excelled and stole the limelight this time for me.
Fiona Button (just started watching The Split – a series in which she is also fab) is just endearing and, along with Pippa Nixon (Gwendolyn) they deliver a pacey performance with perfect comic timing. And Lady Bracknell – well. Am I allowed to say Sophie Thompson came equal pegging to Dame Judi for me in this performance? She did. I’d go and see her in anything. Stella Gonet (fond memories of her in the House of Elliot) gave some backbone to Miss Prism and made an extremely believable governess with a secret or two - one being a penchant for the naïve Reverend it seems.
In fact, I thought all the women were oozing sexual frustration or was it love? Both, I’d like to think, being a bit of a romantic myself. Saying that, it’s always refreshing seeing openly lustful women on stage – makes a change.
In this version of the play, it struck me that the story, reported to be about two men each leading double lives, might really be a story about a group of women doing the same. These are women trussed up in Victorian clothes and bound by social constraints but clearly bursting to explore their individual passions. Though costumes change over the years, this is all still so relevant and the cast do well to showcase the many different messages in this play.
We shouldn’t forget the servants in this review. I really want to go back and just concentrate on them and their impact on the play. I got glimpses of facial expressions and movement that made me realise they were shaping the play very subtly and very cleverly. This play is so engaging I struggled to pay them the attention they deserved, so perhaps I will return and do a review around those characters.
The show is on at the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand - just the right venue for this type play as it relies so much on the audience being able to soak up every clever line. There are many funny moments in this play, so sharp and witty that even I laughed a little too loudly at times. There are so many classic moments, delivered perfectly, and you need to listen carefully to catch it all, as it so tightly written. Some quotes still remain spot on I think – I still do need “something sensational to read on the train” all these years later.
Now where is my House of Elliot box set...
The Importance of Being Earnest is on at the Vaudeville Theatre until 20 October. You can book your tickets here.