The Importance of Being Earnest- 5-Star Reviews

Tuesday 29th October, 2013

The Guardian and The Irish Times both give our latest performance of The Importance of Being Earnest (Millennium Forum Derry) 5 stars!

THE GUARDIAN- Andrew Clements,  The Guardian, Sunday 27th October 2013

"The cheerful, anachronistic jumble of the polka-dotted sets and the costumes – sometimes Victorian, sometimes art deco – becomes the perfect complement to a score in which riffs on Auld Lang Syne and Beethoven's Ode to Joy sit next to elements purloined from Handel, Stravinsky and Webern.
Just as Barry tests everything in his musical and dramatic vocabulary to destruction, so [director/designer, Antony] McDonald pushes his imagery as far as he dares, uncovering some surprisingly dark subtexts in the process. Barry casts Lady Bracknell as a bass, and weird as that is, McDonald goes even further, dressing Stephen Richardson up as a baleful chimera, half hunting-shooting-fishing Edwardian gentleman, half Victorian matriarch, and that mix of the manically extreme and the edgily unsettling is typical of the show as a whole... musically it is all delivered with as much deftness and inexhaustible energy as the manic stage business. The Crash Ensemble play superbly for Pierre-André Valade, and the individual performances are faultlessly precise."

Read the full review here

THE IRISH TIMES -David Byers, The Irish Times, Wednesday 30th October 2013

Barry has pruned and modified Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, retaining much of its “trivial comedy” and often adding to its satirical impact. Wilde claimed his play was for “serious people”, but Barry’s operatic re-imagining appeals to young and old, serious and less so.

Director and designer Antony McDonald makes it more than a visual treat: every choreographed movement adds to the integration of plot and music or enhances some of the absurdities. The lighting is perfectly judged.

Wilde’s contribution cannot be underestimated, but Barry’s exhilarating music, often conveying the text in disjointed syllables, enhances the illogical, the farcical, and the tempo of the words. None of his distinctive musical language – with its fast scales, jagged melodic lines and rhythmic quirkiness – is downplayed, though he does manage to include Auld Lang Syne and a couple of reinterpretations of Schiller’s Ode to Joy.

Barry makes huge demands on his eight singers and the 21 musicians of Crash Ensemble, which doubles as a speaking chorus. The instrumental and vocal writing is fearless and rich... Conductor Pierre- André Valade has a clear vision of pacing and balance. Everyone rises to the occasion, with hysterical results... A must-see production."

Read the full review here

© 2013 irishtimes.com