The Importance of Being Earnest Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 9 2011

Shawn Douglass's droll staging for Remy Bumppo Theatre brings out not just the absurdity but the absurdism in Oscar Wilde's classic farce about lovers stymied by, well, nothing very much. There's an amused imperturbability in the tone of things that makes Wilde's high Victorian characters sound like they might've wandered over from a production of Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano. Nobody pretends very hard that there’s anything at stake in their wooing, or a serious question as to how things will turn out. Even in the midst of a brief third-act reversal, the characters behave as if they've read the end of the play and found it thoroughly satisfactory. They're just performing for one another to pass the time--and, of course, to savor Wilde's gorgeous aphoristic wit. The joke of it all is embodied in David Darlow's drag turn as old Lady Bracknell, the arbiter of propriety. Greg Matthew Anderson has the look and physical lightness of a young Martin Short as Algernon, the more frankly decadent of the suitors. Linda Gillum uses the same lisping delivery that loused her up in the last Remy Bumppo show, Tom Stoppard's Night and Day. The mannerism doesn't succeed here, either, but it also doesn't matter as much. --Tony Adler

Price: $40-$55

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