Victorian charm

The Importance of Being Earnest

Five from <i>The Importance of Being Earnest</i>: Casual attire discouraged.

Five from The Importance of Being Earnest: Casual attire discouraged.

Rated 4.0

City Theater continues its tradition of classic theater productions with a no-holds-barred presentation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. The play, directed by Luther Hanson (Bite Me Cleopatra, Blood Brothers), stars a number of local talents—including Aaron Gaines as Algernon, Jason Stevens as Jack, Phoenix Vaughn as Cecily and Christina Loughrey as Gwendolen.

While the cast delivers a fun evening and an above-par performance, the show’s pace sometimes feels rushed, as if it’s in a race against time. The dialogue by the two male leads, Gaines and Stevens, speeds by and the ending comes oh-so-quickly in a neat and tidy farce-like package.

Lady Bracknell, played by male actor Peter Mohrmann, is the show’s scene-stealer, a perfect addition to a play well cast.

The production itself is filled with a rich, clever humor seldom experienced in many staged versions of classic works. This is demonstrated even in roles such as those played by Sarah Rowland, Marni Glovinsky and John Crabtree: they’re bit parts, yet they all but steal the thunder from the lead characters.

With three impressive, extremely well done and intriguingly complicated sets constructed by technical director Alan Tollefson, each scene takes on a fresh new feel. While some may argue that classical theater is overdone in Sacramento, this certainly proves the contrary.