Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest

Having actors direct is always a tricky prospect. It's complicated even further when the actor who is directing is also playing a leading role in the same production. That's the main problem with Brian Bedford's oddly static production of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, currently entering its last week of performances at The American Airlines Theatre. As played out on Desmond Heeley's gorgeous set, the actors move around awkwardly and deliver Wilde's brilliant bon mots with very little commitment. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that its six months into a long Broadway run, but it's hard to imagine Charlotte Parry's almost indescribably cloying Cecily or David Furr's deadly stiff Jack Worthy ever seeming fresh. Bedford's Lady Bracknell is at least entertaining, but that has more to do with camp than the shaping of an actual performance. As the playwright himself once wrote: "The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast."

($20 tickets, Row E of the mezzanine)


Darryl Reilly said...

When it closes next week this will have played six months making it the longest running production of this ever on Broadway and longer then most productions in London. It was positively reviewed by a consensus of critics. It was commercially filmed and broadcast in movie theaters, a rarity for a play. It was nominated for several Tonys and won for it's costumes. Brain Bedford was nominated for his seventh Tony and won his sixth Drama Desk Award for it.

You're such an authority on theater and you get around to seeing it NOW? "Not to my taste, "or something along those lines would be a fair opinion. Instead you feel compelled to trash it and Brian Bedford. Only you can know your motivations for this negativity. It seems like being contrary for the sake of being contrary.

Cameron Kelsall said...

I have the authority to delete your comment, but I won't, because it says more about your character than mine. This blog is about people sharing opinions, and I shared mine. If you don't like that, you know where to go. As for just seeing it now, not everyone has the opportunity to see everything exactly when it opens. Not that it's any of your business, but I am a graduate student at a university outside of the city, which requires me to live away from New York for half a year. Still, this is the same production now that it was when it opens, and my review reflects that. Take care.