Oscar Wilde’s most popular play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is one of theatre’s finest examples of how incredible dialogue can be in the right writer’s hands. With its inherent wit and charm, Wilde’s most popular play was always bound to be a classic.

The latest Sydney production of the classic is by OutTaTown Productions and currently being shown at the beautiful Zenith Theatre in Chatswood.

 The costuming is phenomenal. Designer Suzy Liolio has proven invaluable to the production, particularly for her work on the period dresses worn by the female cast members. The production has used these costumes as a pompous show of wealth and class – an undeniable element of the writing that has been brought to the forefront by Director Allan Walpole. The ridiculous nature of English classism is paraded and then parodied in his commentary on the ludicrous contradiction of trying to find love among only among the wealthy or one’s narrow view of who their lover has to be.

Oscar Wilde can be a challenge in many of the same ways as Shakespeare. The language is verbose and extravagant and it can be hard not to let that become overplayed at the expense of honest characterization. This is the trap that OutTaTown’s production finds itself in. While the cast members are all individually talented, the play suffers from a lack of connection to characters. The actors are playing the dialogue and the punch lines instead of the truth of the situation and unfortunately, as a result, it is impossible for the audience to develop a real investment in the characters and the journey of the piece.

★★★☆☆

The Importance of Being Earnest runs at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood until the 2nd of April. Tickets can be purchased at http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=IEARNEST17

Cast: Christopher Lewis, Eli Gallagher, Shane Imbert, Christine Greenough, Rowena McInol, Sandy Velini, Lana Kershaw, Richard Mason.

Creative Team: Allan Walpole (Director), Jo Jewitt (Stage Manager), Becky Mathews (Assistant Stage Manager), Suzy Liolio (Costumes), Mahran Mortezaei (Lighting Design), Dee Read (Production Manager).

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