Issued Tuesday, 7 February 2006
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
A TRIVIAL COMEDY PERFORMED BY TWO SERIOUS PEOPLE
This is one of the most brilliantly sophisticated and hilarious productions I have seen… Jude Kelly’s direction is flawlessly and cunningly precise.
The Sunday Times, London
Oscar Wilde, I'm sure, is somewhere grinning ear to ear.
The International Herald Tribute
What happens when The Importance of Being Earnest is performed by just two actors playing all nine roles? The answer is Ridiculusmus.
Jon Haynes and David Woods are Ridiculusmus, a British comedy duo known for their flouting of theatre convention. This brilliant take on Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest was commissioned by Brisbane Powerhouse and The Barbican’s BITE festival in London. After a sellout series of performances in London and a tour of Great Britain, Ridiculusmus returns to Australia to perform Wilde’s great comedy of manners - with a twist.
From March 21 to April 9 Haynes and Woods bring to the Opera House Oscar Wilde’s witty 19th century social comedy about mixed-up identities and made-up characters. In the hands of Ridiculusmus, the original is sent up with skill and considerable ingenuity. Multiple costumes are worn simultaneously, screens and tables become changing rooms and wigs and hats are tossed around the kitsch Victoriana set as the two actors transform into each separate character. The sheer ridiculousness of the costume and character changes provides much humour, without detracting from the well-loved wit of Wilde.
For more than 13 years Ridiculusmus has been developing its anarchic flights of fantasy. The duo’s unconventional and innovative work has been described as physical theatre, political theatre, avant-garde theatre, Dadaist, realist, anarchic and comedic. However it is classified, there is no denying the reputation of Ridiculusmus as one of the most exciting theatre companies around, with awards from Time Out, Total Theatre, The Herald Angel, and two nominations for most outstanding festival show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
The Importance of Being Earnest marks the first time Ridiculusmus has collaborated with a director, and the skills of Jude Kelly, one of Britain’s leading theatre innovators, are evident in this imaginative and ingenious production. The performance begins sedately, with much of the dialogue involving just two characters at a time. It then builds to a fast and furious pace as the mix-ups and misunderstandings unravel and the versatility of the two actors becomes even more evident. The Importance of Being Earnest is a funny play, but this farcical version by Ridiculusmus will make audiences see it in a new, even more hilarious light.
Following the Sydney program the production travels to the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne (as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival) and the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Program Details: The Importance of Being Earnest
Venue: The Playhouse
Dates: Preview Tues 21 March, 2006 8pm
Season 22 March – 9 April, 2006
Times: Tues 6.30pm, Wed – Fri 8pm
Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 5pm
Thurs 30 March & Wed 5 April 12.30pm
Tickets: Preview $35
Artists Talk: Sunday 26 March (post show)