The first show that I saw at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. For any theatre fan this would be a show you’ve probably seen it several time and probably involved with the show in someway. But it’s a show I absolutely adore. It’s almost sad how well I know this show, I could deliver the lines along with the cast.
There are a few interesting points about this particular production that are worth pointing out. First is Brian Bedford is back at the festival. That is enough to make it worth the trip to Stratford for this show. He’s a great classic clown. Bedford is wonderful in all that he does. If you’ve never been to Stratford the name may not mean much to you unless you take into consideration Brian Bedford is the voice of Robin Hood by Disney. Bedford is playing Lady Bracknell as well as directing the show. The other exciting part of The Importance of Being Earnest is that Desmond Heeley is the set designer for the show. Anytime he creates a set you know your breath will be taken away.
The cast of this production is amazing, you have Sara Topham, Ben Carlson, and the incomperable Stephen Ouimette. It’s a show I could watch over and over again this season. Wilde is a wonderful playwright and I find, no matter how many times I watch this show, I laugh so much. If you’re looking for a comedy this is the show for you. The players do a wonderful job of playing off each other bouncing off each others lines as if it were everyday banter.
Shows that deal with babies left in handbags left in train stations (Victoria station of all places!) are just not done often enough. The only problem with this show is the final line. I love this show very much but every time I hear the last line I cringe, it’s horrible.
It’s also important to note that the festival is doing the three act version of the show rather than the original four act. There is some interesting trivia surrounding the the creation of the three act play but I wont get into that.
I’ll leave you with the webcast where the general director of the festival (Antoni Cimolino) talks with Brian Bedford about his involvement in all things Wilde this season at the festival.
Be sure to watch the second part of this video.