Little Lake Theatre takes us back to the late 1800s with The Importance of Being Earnest as the third installment of their 71st season. Written by Oscar Wilde, this three-act play shows the comedic side of what it is like for a man to be truly earnest. The play follows a young man with the ordinary name of Jack, who pretends to have a wicked little brother by the name of Ernest in order to get out of the country and into London. While in London, he takes on the pseudonym of his fake little brother and abandons his name of Jack—that is until he finds out that two women are in love with Ernest. Jack soon realizes the importance in the name Ernest.
A standout character is Merriman/Lane, played by Terry Westwood in Little Lake’s Earnest, who is the butler for Algernon Moncrieff in London, and Jack Worthing in the country. It was hilarious watching as Westwood changed his butler uniform and voice as he switched between London and the country. His attitude toward his superiors remained the same as they pulled him in different directions with ridiculous requests. The audience laughed every time he sighed “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” at each request.
Algernon Moncrieff, the best friend of Jack Worthing, is a man who likes to do as he pleases of his own free will (like creating an excuse of a fake friend Mr. Bunbury, and his love for food). Connor McNelis, as Algernon Moncrieff, displayed Moncrieff’s boredom of regular life and how he used Mr. Bunbury as a way to escape to something more exciting. McNelis hilariously stuffed his face with various foods – especially in a scene where he angrily ate muffins. McNelis did speak a little too quickly throughout the show, making it difficult to understand what he was saying at times.
Jack Worthing, played by Stephen Ray, is the main focus in this play. The audience watches as Worthing attempts to claim the love of his life as his own –with some bumps along the road. Worthing tries to juggle his two lives in the country and in London, which both revolve around Ernest. Ray showed those deep, intense emotions of Worthing as if struggling with his own personal mysteries. Worthing also had his own funny moments (like each time he tried to get Moncrieff to stop eating).
Both Connor McNelis and Stephen Ray shared great onstage chemistry through their characters as they butted heads. They kept the audience laughing as they were chasing each other around the stage over a plate of muffins that they were both viciously eating. McNelis and Ray deeply connected with a brotherly-love that their characters shared.
Another pair that expressed great onstage chemistry was Mairead A. Roddy, who played Cecily Cardew, and Ashley Harmon, who played Gwendolen Fairfax. Together they displayed an amazing friendship and sisterhood—from their rocky beginning filled with
turmoil upon finding out they’re engaged to the same man, to the quick switch of being inseparable when they both realize who Ernest is.
Mairead A. Roddy was full of spunk in her role as Cecily Cardew. Her expressions matched each action and word that was performed throughout the play. Roddy also was very articulate with her words. It was easy to hear exactly what she was saying in the old English. She was confident in her role as the young Englishwoman and performed very well.
You can see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Little Lake Theatre in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania from June 13-15 at 8pm, June 16 at 2pm, and June 20-22 at 8pm. Tickets are $19.00-$20.50 for adults and $12 for children and can be purchased online.
(Note: As an addition their 71st season, Little Lake introduced a hearing loop. The hearing loop allows someone with telecoil (or T-Coil) equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants to listen to the performance through their devices via platforms with flat wires taped on that serve as the loop. Little Lake also offers external headsets on loan for free if anyone is unsure on how to use the hearing loop. Patrons can get an external headset and have questions answered about the hearing loop at the theatre’s box office before the show.)
Photography Credit: Carina Iannarelli
Emily Koscinski is a recent graduate from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. Along with Pittsburgh in the Round her articles have been featured in Midland Today, Beaver County Times, Observer-Reporter, and on the Lincoln Park website. Emily also has her own photography business where her photos have been shown at Robert Morris University and on the Lincoln Park website.
Categories: Archived Reviews