The Importance of Being Earnest

Rated 3.0

Oscar Wilde’s romantic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest is, as always, both romantic and funny in this somewhat uneven production by Big Idea Theatre. A pair of young men learn that honesty is the best policy—sort of—in this romp through upper-class deception, coincidence and wordplay from the master of all three.

Local native Ron Brokenbrough (Jack Worthing) and Stockton transplant Justin Chapman (Algernon Moncreiff) carry the weight of the show admirably as a pair of less-than-thoroughly earnest suitors. When the two of them are able to play off each other, the production does well, for their banter (other than the accents, which could be dispensed with altogether—they unnecessarily slow down the dialogue) feels both natural and charged with the reckless search for entertainment that only the annoyingly wealthy seemed to have in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the pacing of the show suffers when other characters join Jack and Algie in the rambunctious mix.

The production is otherwise brightened by the light-hearted, intuitive performance of Jessica Lynn Berkey as Cecily Cardew, Jack’s ward and the thief of Algie’s thoroughly black heart, and Cozette Roberts’ well-timed performance as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Jack’s intended.