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The Importance of Being Earnest
Cover of The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest
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This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language. Includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:James Marsters as Jack, Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell, Emily Bergl as Cecily, Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman, Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism, Christopher Neame as Chasuble, Matthew Wolf as Algernon, Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen. Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language. Includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:James Marsters as Jack, Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell, Emily Bergl as Cecily, Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman, Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism, Christopher Neame as Chasuble, Matthew Wolf as Algernon, Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen. Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

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  • AudioFile Magazine Wilde's famous and hilarious send-up of Victorian courtship is beautifully realized by L.A. Theatre Works' talented cast. The dialogue is quick and snappy--exactly as it should be. Listeners will still be giggling at one joke as the next sails by. James Marsters plays the clever devil-may-care Jack (sometimes Earnest) with energy and wit, and Matthew Wolf's Algernon (also sometimes Earnest) is spot-on--neurotic, loving, and yearning to be both adventurous and responsible. A special mention goes to Charles Busch for his laugh-out-loud portrayal of Lady Bracknell. The acting and staging are clear and effective, and while nothing can replace actually watching Wilde's play in person, this production is a close second to the live event. A.H.A. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine I never travel without my diary, says the sheltered and beautiful young maiden. "One should always have something sensational to read on the train." With this play, which premiered in 1895, Oscar Wilde established a uniquely British style of verbal stage humor. One could say with justification that it is one of the funniest plays in the English language. Or, because plays are (in a sense) rewritten every time they're performed, potentially so. The radio production heard here realizes that potential in spades. A young John Gielgud takes the lead, while Dame Edith Evans steals the show as the imperious Lady Bracknell, a role for which she was famous in her lifetime. That today's American listeners won't recognize the names of the other cast members doesn't mean they're any less capable. The entire ensemble shines. The timing! The gusto! The sense of fun! This reviewer has heard every audio recording of EARNEST; this is by far the best of them all. Overlook the bad sound quality and you'll be richly rewarded. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine
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Oscar Wilde
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