“It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.” Oscar Wilde
A couple of weeks ago I shuffled off to Hervey Bay’s Z-Pac theatre in Zephyr Street, to see its production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
I have to admit to practically being a local theatre virgin, vaguely recalling a play I saw in my hometown of Maryborough back in my school days, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My fellow theatre-goer and I decided we shouldn’t be too judgemental and I (quite possibly) set the what-will-I-think-of-this bar quite low.
And was I surprised!?! (Hint: it’s a rhetorical question!)
The two male leads were superb. Bradley Chapman, the play’s director, was excellently annoying as Algernon Moncrieff… one of the play’s two E(a)rnests. His performance and Wilde’s words resulting in much chuckling and guffawing. Michael Ware as John Worthing was also excellent and his frustrated E(a)rnest was convincing. My personal fave was probably Tamara Bailey’s Lady Bracknell (Algernon’s aunt and mother to John’s love interest). Her haughty and comedic delivery was perfect.
Taylor Dunn and Tayla Harding were great as Gwendolyn and Cecily and I was mightily impressed by Jonathon Dunn’s changing accents in his dual roles. In fact, I was quite shocked that the cast maintained their English accents for the entire play. No easy feat I assume.
And as for the script / dialogue…. how they could memorise those lines is beyond me. I can barely remember my own phone number! *Insert slight pause while I try to test this assertion!*
The production was polished, sets simple but effective and costumes good. I particularly liked the segway between the first two acts and the move from London to Herfortshire… it was very smooth in its unashamed obviousness (Dunn’s dual character physically changing – jacket, boots and hat – from Algernon’s supercilious butler to John’s ummm… more-common manservant).
All in all it was an excellent start to my local theatre-going adventures and I’ll certainly be back for more. In fact… I even downloaded a Z-Pac application form wondering if I could be of some use behind the scenes!
*Photograph compliments of The Fraser Coast Chronicle.