Book review: “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde (play)

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(Look at all those tabs!)

Ever since I watched the play on stage (broadcasted by Cineplex from West End with an amazing David Suchet as Lady Bracknell, I have been eager to read the play. I got it off Audible first and listened to it as an audio play, but it had different cast and even though I enjoyed it, the way they accentuated some lines irritated me. (I blame David Suchet for forever ruining any other performance of Lady Bracknell for me.) I wrote the review of the play here if you are interested to read it.

Finally I got my hands on the copy of the play. It was delivered to me by BookDepository in a different edition from what I ordered but I actually like it now.

The play is the epitome of Oscar Wilde’s wit and satire aimed at high society. He laughs at their habits, stupidity, narrow-mindedness and obsession with status. Reading the play might be confusing for people who are not used to reading plays. Stage directions in first part are scarce and largely left to interpretation to the reader. Reading it now, though, after watching the play let me revisit it again and I once again fell in love with Wilde’s language.

I tabbed all of my favourite lines in the play. I have 20 tabs in 54 pages. Basically every other page has a gem of a line in it.

My favourite moment in the play all involved Cecily as she is so simple minded that she says the most ridiculous things. My favourite line of hers was:

Miss Prism. Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days.
Cecily. Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily? I don’t like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.

Another gem about literature:

Algernon. The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!

Sometimes the way Oscar Wilde phrases things scares me as even over a hundred years later his words are still true.

Do yourself a favour and watch this on stage or at least listen to it as an audio play on Audible. I promise, you will spend 2 hours laughing non-stop.

Personal rating: 5 stars

Review: The Importance of being Earnest

As you know, I am a huge fan of theatre. Especially, National Theatre in London and its broadcasts. I probably should blog about it more, but I always forget to write reviews.

Last night I went to see “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. It was staged by West End, I believe, which I mistakingly took for NT as 99% of broadcasts I go to are done by them. I even tweeted about it, confused as why there was no NT live introduction.

I love Oscar Wilde, although I admit that I know more about his life than I ever read his books. I heard of this play, but I don’t think I ever watched it on stage until yesterday. My main fascination with this production was due to the fact that David Suchet, whom I love and adore, plays Lady Bracknell in it.

I love Suchet as Hercule Poirot and I also got a chance to see him on stage live in The Last Confession a year ago (I think I got really teary eyed about it), so of course I had to see him again.

He was terrific! Incredibly funny! It was more about his face and his eyes than even about the words, although he did deliver all punch lines perfectly (“The bag!”). The whole cast was just stellar! Not so many familiar faces to me, I am afraid. But all of them were so, so funny! (David Suchet stayed in role even at the curtain call, which was cool.)

The play had 3 acts and 2 intermissions.

 

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Vaudeville Theatre London Dress Rehearsals April 2015 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Directed by Adrian Noble David Suchet as Lady Bracknell Designer Peter McKintosh Lighting Howard Harrison Emily Barber/Gwendolen Fairfax Imogen Doel/Cecily Cardew Michael Benz/Jack Worthington Michele Doctrice/Miss Prism Philip Cumbus/Algernon Moncrieff David Killick/Lane Richard O'Callaghan/Rev Canon Chasuble Brendan Hooper/Merriman ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7274-2105 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk
(The photos are not mine. Taken from the official website for reference only. http://importanceofearnest.com/)

The play is screening in several countries across the globe, so I implore you to go and see it. It is quite wonderful! It definitely lifted my spirits. (David Suchet as Lady Bracknell looks a lot like my maternal grandmother, down to a stern look and bushy eyebrows. I kept getting chills during the performance!)

Watch the official trailer here: https://youtu.be/z4UVgvzpUnU

It was a classic theatre staging, nothing moving and no water or fire or other special effects that are so common for National Theatre productions, but I really liked it. It let the audience focus on the acting which was superb.

If I had to rate it, I’d give it 5/5 stars.

p.s. While in the audience, I was surprised that some people didn’t know David Suchet from his Hercule Poirot role. Gosh, I felt like such a fangirl.