Dead Writers’ “The Importance of Being Ernest” Is The Perfect Balance of Folly

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Reviewed by: Stacey L. Crawley

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Oscar Wilde shows his wit and charm in his ‘trivial comedy for serious people,’ The Importance of Being Ernest, now playing at the Athenaeum TheatreIn this comic masterpiece presented by the Dead Writers Theatre Collective, bad timing is well timed. One-liners spark laughter from the audience throughout and the impressive cast delivers a sharp, witty take on this endearing classic.Bachelors Algernon (Jack Dryden), the larger than life playboy, and Jack Worthing (Sean Magill), the upright and guilt-ridden Catholic, come up with elaborate schemes to hide their double lives.

John falls in love with Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen (Maeghan Looney) and, after discovering John’s secret, Algernon falls for John’s ward Cecily Megan Delay). However Lady Bracknell (Mary Ann Bowman), Gwendolen’s mother, who begins her own quest for truth finds what lies beneath the masks of these seemingly upstanding gentlemen. Funny, with a smart, dry delivery that packed a punch, Lady Backneel had some of the best quips of the show. When Worthing declares he is an orphan, she replies, “To lose one parent is a misfortune; to lose both is a carelessness!”

Against her wishes, her daughter Gwendolen is determined to marry Jack Worthing, but only because she thinks his name is Ernest. Jack is the guardian of Cecily, who thinks that Ernest is her Uncle Jack’s brother. To cover his tracks, Jack claims his brother, who of course does not exist, managed to recently die in a boarding house fire. While Jack is bumbling through his story, Algernon claims his fake persona, the invalid Bunbury, has also suddenly met with a terrible fate. What happens next when their worlds collide is a delightful chaos that’s complicated and hilarious.

I highly recommend this charming and entertaining show now playing through July 31st at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Broadway Thursday through Saturday 7:30, Sunday 2:30 Matinee. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling 773-935-6860. For more information visit www.deadwriters.net