"THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST," Little Brown Theatre, 248 S. Main, Springville, directed by Dana Anquoe; 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday through March 12; tickets $10 per person, available at the door; running time 2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission
SPRINGVILLE — The theater is cozy. The acting is high quality and the story is a funny one.
Add in some very nice costuming and a nicely appointed set, and "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the new Little Brown Theatre becomes a very watchable production.
Director Dana Anquoe has brought out the best in her characters as the actors time their lines well and deliver them in great comedic fashion.
It's absolutely fun to watch the repartee between the various "Earnests" and their lady loves.
Andrew Whittaker is Earnest/Jack Worthing, beloved by Gwendolen Fairfax (played by Alyssa Christensen) because she so likes the name "Earnest."
Eric Ramaekers is Earnest/Algernon Moncrief and engaged to the besotted Cecily Cardew (Lindsay Fairbanks) who also loves the name Earnest.
In between is the snobby but illogical Augusta Bracknell, played by Sherri Webb, and the governess Laetitia Prism, played by M'liss Tolman, who is chasing a man of the cloth.
Kenneth Norris lends a woeful air as the servant Lane, and Amanda Oliver makes the most of her part as the disdainful maid.
Jamie Gritton plays the local minister.
It makes for a well-disciplined cast, which it must be on the tiny stage.
Every line is clearly heard, so the witticisms get full counts: "Girls don't marry men they flirt with," "I don't approve of long engagements; It gives one time to discover one's true character" and "It's a troublesome thing for a man to realize he's been speaking nothing but the truth his entire life."
Much of the humor comes from understatement, while much of the rest comes from complications created when the main characters tell fibs.
The conflict is created largely by Aunt Augusta's disapproval of her daughter's romance, especially when it becomes clear she bases her opinions on wealth as much as breeding.
There's a great scene between Gwendolen and Cecily as they become instant friends and just as quickly instant rivals.
Then Jack Worthing's last-minute blackmail scheme becomes something to watch.
This iconic Oscar Wilde story is a classic that's been done many a time. This go-around is one of the better tellings.