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Reptalk – The Importance of Being Earnest

We have another play under our belt, and with this one in particular, Repertory has more than risen to the challenge to present a well-loved classic play in a vibrant and polished production. It was utterly delightful to hear, each night from the wings, the laughter from the audience at Wilde’s deliciously witty dialogue, still fresh and relevant almost a hundred and twenty years after it was written, and it was equally delightful to work with the actors on this brilliant script throughout the rehearsal process. Rehearsals at Rep are usually punctuated with much laughter, and in that respect, this production was no exception.

A major thanks to the cast who all worked so hard to get Wilde’s very precise dialogue utterly right (under the constant watchful eye of our rehearsal prompt, Dee Brough), and managed to infuse it with such an array of delightful subtleties of characterisation and intention. We were fortunate to have an effective balance of experienced actors with some less experienced, and, as a result, each brought a different energy to the fore. Repertory regular Kerry Girdwood relished the opportunity to play the Grande Dame “Lady Bracknell” with a calculated haughty aplomb and Linda Kerfoot, another face familiar to Rep audiences, seized the role of “Gwendolen” and delivered a deliciously arch performance. Mike Pyefinch, always a reliable actor, excelled himself in a role against type as “Jack” and even the actor playing Canon Chasuble managed to raise a few laughs (if not eyebrows). As far as the newcomers were concerned, James Graves was an absolute stand-out, working incredibly hard throughout rehearsals to capture the louche spirit of Algernon, and Karen Hughes brought a wonderful freshness to the role of Cecily. Beverley Pearce was a lovely Miss Prism and terrific fun to play opposite. Other newcomers Chris Northover and Trent Jones joined with Rep stalwart Ron Chapman to create a terrific trio of manservants.

In the wings we were blessed with newcomer (to this role at least) Troy Taylor as stage manager who ran the backstage area with great efficiency and courtesy, ably assisted by Jill Johnston and Clayton Bunker. Sherman Page did a great job on lights as did Martin Brown on sound, and Frances Brown and team ran front of house with their usual efficiency.

As production manager and wardrobe mistress, Kerry Mountstephen certainly had her job cut out for her on this production, but the costumes, wigs and make-up that she provided (very capably assisted by newcomer Karen Craig) were utterly brilliant.

Finally, thanks much go to our regular Repertory audience members who faithfully turn up to support every production we put on (it’s very much appreciated!), and also to the new audience members who have so enthusiastically stepped through the front doors for the first time to see “Earnest”. From the nightly response to this production, we take it that you enjoyed the play, and hope that you will also become regular visitors to Rep.
Backstage at the Rep
A backstage view from the wings during the final performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest”.