Charity Parenzini as Gwendolen, Kevin Brady as John Worthing and Pam Nolte as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.
Photo by Matthew Lawrence.
What do you get when you combine a beautifully detailed set, phenomenal actors, an evening full of laughs, and an over-all dazzling show? Say hello to Taproot Theatre Company’s newest production, The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Karen Lund. Earnest was originally subtitled “a trivial comedy for serious people”, and that is exactly what TTC’s cast and crew’s combined efforts achieve. The Importance of Being Earnest, written by Oscar Wilde around 1895, is about two fashionable young gentlemen and their eventually successful courtship. The young ladies who have captured the gentlemen’s affections adore the name Earnest, and both are under the impression that their lover is named Earnest – which they are not! The story is full of mix-ups, absurd imaginations, and is, as TTC dubs it, “a delightful comic romp.”
As soon as the house lights dimmed, and the applause died away, the audience was ushered into a beautiful 1900 London townhouse. It was interesting to watch the exquisite scene changes being made during both intermissions; it was obvious that the scenic designer, Mark Lund, put a lot of thought, time, and energy into the details of the set. Sarah Burch Gordon’s beautiful costume designs were befitting of both the time period and the characters – even Lady Bracknell’s hat in the first act enhanced her character!
The cast was in no way a let-down either. Since Aaron Lamb (portraying Algernon) and Kevin Brady (portraying Jack) did speak somewhat fast at times to where it was a bit hard to catch everything, it was helpful being already familiar with the story. Charity Perenzini and Bethany Hudson absolutely sparkled in their roles of Gwendolyn and Cecily, and Bill Johns, a.k.a. Rev. Canon Chasuble, was a delight whenever he set foot on stage. Each of the actors has had loads of experience, and it was very apparent throughout the show. (At one point, part of the set unexpectedly fell, and the performers presently onstage were able to just go with it and play it for the biggest laugh of the show!)
I’ve attended numerous Taproot productions in the past, and I haven’t ever been let down with what I’ve seen; Earnest was in no way an exception. The theatre was clean, the staff was helpful, and the audience was kept engaged and excited throughout the show. After the show, the audience was treated to era-appropriate lemonade, finger sandwiches, and cakes, which added a nice touch. Pre-teens and younger children probably wouldn’t get the adult humor, but it was delightful for a slightly older crowd. Each act built in excitement and entertainment, and the actors left the stage at the end of the show to thunderous, enthusiastic applause from the audience. When the house lights went up, there were smiles on every face, including mine. The Importance of Being Earnest was a very pleasant experience and a very charming show, and I’m excited to see what other masterpieces Taproot will dish up for Seattle in the future.
Rachel N., age 15
September 28th, 2007
The Importance of Being Earnest
Taproot Theatre Company
Through October 27th
More info and show times: http://www.taproottheatre.org/
Taproot’s Ticket Office: 206-781-9707
Ticket office hours: Tuesday – Saturday, Noon – show time
Taproot Theatre is located at 204 N 85th Street (at the intersection of Greenwood Ave and 85th), Seattle, 98103. It is served by buses 66, 67, 68, and 242. For bus times, go to tripplanner.metrokc.gov.
Did you see this show? Leave a comment and tell us what you thought!