To be staged at Cine-Teatro, Loulé, on June 20 and 21, A Portada Theatre Group presents ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde.
Packed with absurd situations and witty lines, the play is a classic of British theatre first staged in 1895. Subsequently produced by amateur and professional groups on numerous occasions, the new production, directed by Priscilla Morgan, sparkles with satire as the aristocratic characters – lacking any insight – blunder their way through ridiculous events.
Lady Bracknell, arguably one of the best known female characters ever to appear on stage, is convincingly played by veteran Algarve actress Nicky Moran. The part was immortalised by Dame Edith Evans and her interpretation of Wilde’s line, “a handbag”, continues to remain amusing despite the passing of more than a century.
Sally Ricciardi is Gwendolyn, Lady Bracknell’s artificial and pretentious daughter who is fixated on the idea of marrying someone with the name of Ernest. Experienced actor and leading man Simon Tubb plays the part of the duplicitous Jack Worthing and Miguel Cosme is the idle dandy, Algernon Moncrieff.
Adding more amusement to the production William Weber is Dr Chasuble, the local vicar, and the stuck-up Miss Prism is played by Julie Holland. Male and female versions of the same pedantic character their flirtation is based upon Miss Prism’s admiration for the vicar’s sermons and his lectures. Taking another of the key roles, Lydia Dunn Ribeiro is the director’s granddaughter and has been cast as Cecily.
Oscar Wilde uses his characters to satirise the hypocrisy of Victorian society where superficial people are disguised beneath their respectable exteriors.
Realistically created, the set and costumes are designed by Lesley Sweeney who has a professional stage background in London’s West End.
The play is often described as a trivial comedy for serious people and most critics agree that it is the culmination of Wilde’s playwriting career.
Described as a comic jewel, A Portada’s production capitalises on farcical moments making it clear that this is why ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is Wilde’s most enduringly popular play.
On Saturday the show starts at 8pm and on Sunday at 5pm. Tickets cost €12 and students pay €7. Tickets can be reserved on 913 821 108 and collected and paid for at the theatre before the performance. Tickets reserved through the theatre (289 414604 | [email protected]) must be collected 24 hours before the performance.
By CAROLYN KAIN
Photo by PETER KAIN
Caption: Back row from left, Simon Tubb, Sally Ricciardi, Miguel Cosme, Martin Sargent; front row from left, Nicky Moran, Lydia Dunn Ribeiro