Review Round-up: The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre

In Features, London theatre, Native, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Sticky by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Michael Fentiman’s production of Oscar Wilde’s beloved comedy is the final production in Classic Spring’s year-long Oscar Wilde season, running until 20 October 2018 at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre. Here’s what critics have been saying about it….

The Guardian: ★★ “At least the production is consistent in its determination to rob Wilde of his decorum.”

The Stage: ★★ “Michael Fentiman’s pantomimic production does it a disservice. Denuded of nuance, it reduces every character to a caricature and pitches the comedy at such a frenzied level from the outset it allows it nowhere to go and no space to grow.”

Broadway World: ★★★ “It makes for a joyfully farcical romp, but Michael Fentiman’s frenzied direction is also in danger of upstaging one of theatre’s all-time great comedies – a piece of such exquisite construction that it’s frustrating to have flawless lines lost to people shoving bread in one another’s mouths.”

Time Out: ★★ “Fiona Button is the stand-out – by some distance – as a bright, engaging Cecily; she allows the character to be absolutely as doolally as written, while also nailing her bossy efficiency as a full-on flirt, with very clear ideas about love and how it should play out. Shame she’s the only one, in this muddled take.”

The Upcoming: ★★★ “Though the audience are certainly not short of laughter, this is a staging which lacks a lightness of touch. Heavy-handed references to Wilde’s sexuality, though meant as an homage, muddle the tone of the production. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of joy to be found here in the timeless witticisms of one of the nation’s finest minds.”

The Reviews Hub: ★★1/2 “The Importance of Being Earnest may be Wilde’s best-known play, but this forgettable version ends a season that that has, in truth, delivered some good performances but very little insight.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “But even if this isn’t the most subtle take on the play, the one-liners retain their sparkle. Unafraid of daftness and exaggeration, it’s an entertaining conclusion to the Classic Spring company’s year-long West End celebration of Wilde.”


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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.