Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” is one of those plays that never grow old. The jokes are still just as funny as they were back in 1895, when the show was first performed, and Wilde’s witty style keeps even the savviest modern viewers on their toes. Raleigh Little Theatre’s rendition, directed by John T. “Jack” Hall, picks up on all of Wilde’s clever cues and delivers a funny social commentary that astute viewers of all ages are sure to enjoy.
Hall and set designer Thomas Mauney take full advantage of the three-act structure, using the two intermissions to undertake elaborate set changes. Their hard work pays off, and the audience is treated to three very distinct sets that successfully transition viewers and characters alike from stodgy city life to freer, more open country life.
It is in that stodgy city, however, that viewers are introduced to Algernon Moncrieff (Gus Allen) and his frenemy John Worthing (Brook North). John announces his intentions to marry beautiful Gwendolyn (Kate Bowra), and both men admit to occassionally taking on other names and characters to lure in the ladies. The fun really starts when Algernon shows up in John’s country home and, under a false name, woos and falls in love with the lovely and oh-so-spunky Cecily Cardew, endearingly portrayed by cute-as-a-button Sheryl Scott. Scott, clad in a bright yellow dress that suits Cecily’s personality, charms audiences thoroughly with her impeccable sense of comedic timing and her mischievous smile.