Mark Thomson is on fire.
His last six or so productions have not only been outstanding in my personal opinion, but also in that of the critics.
There are more stars kicking around the foyer of The Lyceum right now than in the Milky Way and that is because he, as artistic director, is mounting productions that are great. Really great.
Earnest is no exception. Although four acts long (usually three) it passes in the blink of an eye. Rarely have I seen a show crack along at such a ferocious pace. You really do need to keep your wits about you to catch all of the gags in this script.
Some commentators have chosen to point out its current day relevance (particularly centred on a gag about Unionists and Liberals) but actually I thought it was very much a period piece that captured the hilarious mannerisms and manners of upper class England in a bygone time. Despite that, it is genuinely funny from start to finish, hilariously so in parts, and that is down to three things; Wilde’s astounding script, Thomson’s taught direction and the astonishing acting by the cast which consists of Kirsty Mackay, Will Featherstone, Cara Kelly, Steven McNicoll, Mark McDonnell, Alexandra Mathie, Ben Deery, Sean Murray, and Melody Grove.
The Autumn season used virtually the same casts in Romeo and Juliet and this show. Did it work as a double header? I’m not sure that I really saw the link but what I did see was two great shows. And the stand out over the piece had to be Will Featherstone as Romeo and Algernon – his performance as Algernon was utterly hilarious.
Lady Bracknell, played to perfection by Alexandra Mathie, was probably the show stealer on the night but really it’s an ensemble performance with not a single weak link.
It still has over a week to run and there are tickets available so get along. Trust me. You’ll thank me.