Arts Review: Wilde In Space – The Importance of Being Earnest

Directors: Annie Saxberg and Kirsty McAdam, Art School, 21st – 23rd November

By taking a beloved classic by Oscar Wilde and setting it in space, director Annie Saxberg has produced a fun and crazy play that did not disappoint.

From the moment I walked into the venue I was transported into the galaxy of the Great Imperial Queen Bracken as purple lights and an image of stars greeted me warmly. The use of technology throughout the play was well done, with adverts for robot servants or robot teachers being played between scene changes, making use of 1980’s sci-fi television and movie clips, and the computer-animated projections of the locations behind the actors meant you knew where scenes took place without needing an intricate scene change. As an audience member, I was looking out from a spaceship window when located in Algernon’s ship and when down on earth with Cecily and Miss Prism I looked upon a stately home or a garden scene.

With the play lasting roughly 120 minutes with a 20-minute interval, I feared that the novelty of space and aliens would wear off after the first scene but I was happily mistaken. The idea was continuously engaging and entertaining, providing many moments of comedy as the characters served up something fresh to the stage each time they were introduced. My personal favourites being Merriman and Lane, two robot servants who, despite having a lack of personality, had a lot of attitude and provided moments where I found myself laughing uncontrollably.

The cast each brought something new and original to the show, most memorably Jamie Young in drag, playing Queen Bracken, or Lady Bracknell in the original. Having his own entrance music and an incredibly elaborate costume, I can only imagine how long it must have taken for him to get ready. Everyone’s hard work achieved an imaginative and engaging cast. However, the performances of Max Aspen playing Algernon, and Holly Macmaster playing Cecily, particularly resonated with me as their deliverance and performance was my personal highlight of the show.

Overall, Wilde in Space: The Importance of being Ernest was an extremely clever show. Though at times I found the pacing and line delivery to be a little slow, the characterisation and overall theme made up for this.

[Kelly Macarthur -@_kellymacx]

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