Nothing Earnest about Wilde’s wit

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The Importance of Being Earnest - Lowther Pavilion

Oscar Wilde’s 1895 witty and enduring comedy is expertly presented by the Fylde Coast Players, the opening performance very much appreciated by the audience.

Andy Cooke and Paul Lomax take the first scene at pace, setting the tone for the humour of the play with cut-glass English accents and waspish epigrams. Many of the lines present the conventional sentiments about marriage and relationships in reverse and the quality of the delivery by all the cast makes you listen and laugh throughout.

Following in the footsteps of so many famous interpretations of Lady Bracknell is no easy task, but Rosie Withers puts a very distinctive battle-axe persona on the character and, particularly in the finale, draws herself up splendidly to make every haughty syllable count. Andrea Neville, tall and nose in the air, is excellent as the Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax, whilst Emily Cartmell, in her first major role, shows much promise as a youthful Cecily.

Wilde’s comedy is all in the words, but there is too a superbly physical cameo from Jeff Redfern as Rev. Canon Chasuble – accomplished in posture, gait, shape and gestures. Vera Cummins too uses all her experience to enliven the somewhat stiff Miss Prism.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a fine choice to celebrate the company’s 65th anniversary and director Rosemary Roe produces from her cast a well-judged performance of a rightly popular classic.