REVIEW - The Importance of Being Earnest by Malvern Theatres' Young Company is 'bold and full of energy' - The Malvern Observer

REVIEW - The Importance of Being Earnest by Malvern Theatres' Young Company is 'bold and full of energy'

Malvern Editorial 10th Aug, 2022 Updated: 10th Aug, 2022   0

ACTORS have long held Oscar Wilde in almost the same esteem as the Stratford Bard – the revered playwright is acknowledged to be a theatrical challenge in which many a seasoned professional has fallen on their swords.

Consequently, ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’ is a brave choice for Malvern Theatres’ Young Company to select as their Edinburgh Fringe production.

Picture by Stuart Purfield. s

Happily, what they lack in maturity they more than make up for in energy.

Right from the get-go we are not strolling but cantering along and oft breaking into a gallop in this stripped-back 80-minute adaptation by Director Nic Lloyd.

Edward Kirby was indeed worthy as John Worthing, rich of voice and facial expressions that carried across the curtain line. Physically his movement needs attention in places where he let his frame become too loose, but this was the first night.

Henry Pyne was at the top of his game as Algernon Moncrieff – everything flowed in near perfect characterisation.

Ellie Ricci gave us a performance beyond her years as Lady Bracknell and, my word, she has to walk in some hallowed footsteps! Her long speeches never faltered with her concise  hand gestures perfectly timed and in keeping with the richness of her dialogue.

Picture by Stuart Purfield. s

Elizabeth Anne Jones was suitably teasing as Gwendolen Fairfax and again her hand gestures were a delightful adjunct.

Lexi Henry made the most of the few lines she has as Cecily Cardew and Mia Stevens looks and sounds the business as Miss Prism – I felt she has more to give which will no doubt be forthcoming during the run.

Rhys Harris-Clarke is of course a young Malvern legend and no production would be complete with out his beaming smile. Here we get a veritable ensemble as he plays the Rev Canon Chasuble, Lane and DD Merriman, all of whom he gives a splash of wackiness too.

Lloyd was quite right to take an axe rather than a scalpel to the script.

Anything performed in the round – or as in this case the avenue – has to rely on actors carrying the story without the benefit of a set. Here the minimalist approach adds not detracts and our imaginations do the rest.

Picture by Stuart Purfield. s

Very nice frocks from Bridget Lloyd add colour, time and place to the sparse black space.

Overall this is a bold production and with everything tightened up a few notches it all bodes well for a successful run in Edinburgh.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs at Malvern Theatres until Friday. Click here for times, tickets and more information.



Review by Euan Rose

Euan Rose reviews

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