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Review: The Importance of Being Earnest

Photos by Josh Crow

On Nov. 1-4, Howard Auditorium echoed with 19th-century British accents and just the right amount of ironic, Oscar Wilde humor as the ORU Theatre Department beautifully presented “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Directed by Norah Swiney, the play followed Jack Worthing (played by Timothy Conn) and Algernon Moncrieff (played by Caleb Vaughn) and love interests Gwendolen Fairfax (played by Alyssa McGuire) and Cecily Cardew (played by Rebekah Wood).

In a twisted mess of hilarious irony, the characters reveal the frivolous nature of 19th-century views on courtship and marriage.

“To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people an opportunity of finding out each other’s characters before marriage,” was the best quote of the night, presented by Lady Bracknell (played by Dru Denny).

It portrayed Wilde’s strength in calling out the idiosyncrasy of 19th-century traditional rules of behavior in such a hilarious yet profound way.

Actors Timothy Conn and Caleb Vaughn as Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff.

The chemistry of the actors on-stage added a depth to the performance and had me pulled in nearly the entire show. I only sank into my seat at a few of the scenes in which the actors were relentless in their high-pitched London accents.

I was mesmerized by the timing of the transitional scenes where the actors kept the audience laughing­—even without dialogue—as stage hands weaved in and out behind the action, rearranging the set in perfect timing.

The set design featured intricate details, broad, traditional columns, true-to-the-time paintings that brought the audience directly into the time period.

Overall, I was satisfied with the actor’s sassy mannerisms and wit throughout the show, as well as the the authentic lighting, sound, costumes and design. Bravo, ORU Theatre.