‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ showcases comedy front and center

Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

The fun, hilarious, over-the-top cast of “The Importance of Being Earnest” is sure to entertain the audience through its comedically ironic plotline and witty banter.

Written by famed playwright Oscar Wilde in 1895, the play is set in Victorian age London and is centered around Jack Worthing, the main protagonist of the play. Unknown to those closest to him, Jack is living a double-life by the name, Earnest, whom others believe to be a mischievous brother of his, but he does this in order to escape his responsibilities at home. Soon after, his own best friend Algernon Moncrieff, or “Algy” as he’s called, discovers his hidden secret and fun-filled conflict ensues for the pair.

In fact, Algernon knew him as Earnest and not Jack. This sets off a snowball effect of events, as Jack tries to keep his secret hidden, while Algernon assumes his friend’s secret alias. It’s a lot to take in, but it will keep the audience laughing from beginning to end.

Though Jack—or Earnest, depending on who he is with—is the hero of the play, it’s Algy, and his mustache who steal the show. The play opens at his residence, and after his bold entrance, it’s immediately telling that you’re in for a wild ride any time he’s on stage.

Gabriel Franco Kull, who plays Algy, does a phenomenal job at exemplifying the true nature of the character. Algy is care-free, witty, frivolous, amoral, always looking for excitement, doesn’t take anything seriously and a charming-in-his-own-way kind of bachelor. Franco Kull is able to embrace Algy, and bring him to life, from the pages of a script and onto the stage.

“I love his energy! He is so fun,” Franco Kull said about his character. “He is definitely a roller coaster! He is like a hound that gets outsmarted by a fox.”

This is true, watching Algy’s character play out on the stage is like being on a roller coaster. You never know what he’s going to do or what he’s going to say, but it all makes for an entertaining time.

There are essentially four main characters, but it does stretch beyond that. The cast is wonderful and each member does a great job in their role. The dialogue and interactions between every character is amazing to watch.

One of the more important aspects of the play are the romantic relationships both Jack and Algy form with the women in the play, Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. Jack is in love with Gwendolen, but she is in love with Earnest, who is Jack, but she doesn’t know that. However, her mother Lady Bracknell does not approve of their courtship.

Anytime Lady Bracknell appears on stage, she gives Algy stiff competition for attention. Vanessa Keyser who plays Lady Bracknell, demands the spotlight the moment she enters the room. It’s tough not to know she’s in the room for anytime she speaks, everyone remains silent. She is controlling, and it’s evident in her interactions with her daughter Gwendolen. Gwendolen however, likes to defy her mother in any way she can.

Marissa McElroy’s character Gwendolen is unmatched and a surprisingly delight to watch. Gwendolen is selfish, pretentious, yet witty and intelligent, and it’s fun to see her love for Earnest, as she will do almost anything to be with him. She has the best throat-clearing technique, and it’s tough to miss. Do not underestimate her, she keeps it real, or as real as it can get.

After having been mentioned throughout the play, the mysterious Cecily Cardew played by Lauren Wagner, Algy’s love interest, makes her long-awaited presence onstage. She’s charming, a bit naïve, but very smart and silly. Cecily is known as a “little” girl, but she knows how to get her way if she needs it.

She is anything but a little girl. A delightful and hilarious relationship form between herself and Algy, they’re a perfect match.

The costumes in the play are something worth mentioning. The dresses of the main characters, are gorgeous and detailed, and wonderfully illustrate the Victorian era. The hair was also perfectly done and imitated the upper social class women of their day.

Accents are important for a play like this. It’s imperative to assure that each actor has the accent mastered when speaking lines. There is an expectation that a person of the middle to upper social class in London speak a certain way, and it’s safe to say that the cast delivers in this department.

The set is absolutely beautiful and immediately stands out on the stage. It’s an intricate setup that is able to transform into three different settings.

While the first act of the play takes a bit of time to get through, it continues to become more and more entertaining as each character is introduced and the plot develops. There is some character growth for each character, particularly with Jack, but it’s very much about the way in which every relationship, romantic or not, flourishes into.

The best scenes are those in the third act, as each scene becomes more animated and everything leads up to the climax where much is revealed, and jaws drop.

Another thing worth mentioning is the comedic relief by Merriman and Footman, or butlers of the play. Although the roles are minor, their presence is worth noting.

In this play, it’s the minor attention to detail that must be noticed.

Maybe too much has been said, but it is important to understand what is going on in this play. It’s an absolute must-see comedy, with talented actors to match their role.

Wilde would be happy with this portrayal.