Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Importance of Being Ernest

James Ijames and Chancellor Dean
 Mauckingbird Theatre Company, located in the Off-Broad Street Theatre of the 1st Baptist Church at 1636 Sansom Street, is presenting The Importance of Being Ernest through August 25. Touted as the only theatre company in the nation devoted solely to presenting works seen through a “queer” lens, Mauckingbird has once again created a first class production.  Having recently reread The Importance of Being Ernest, I can attest to the fact that although Peter Reynolds adapted Oscar Wilde’s play to give it a gay bent, he has left the script virtually intact; Jack (Chancellor Dean) falls in love with Gwendolyn, portrayed by Brent Knobloch and his cousin Algernon (James Ijames) fancies Jack’s ward, Cecily, portrayed by David Hutchison. As in any farce, circumstances change from one minute to the next followed by laughter from the audience. The acting is first rate;every actor delivers his lines with a straight face although I believe there were twinkles in the eyes of some as the laughter from the audience reached the stage. Gwendolyn’s mother and Algernon’s aunt, Lady Bracknell, is played by the incomparable Nancy Boykin. The antithesis of every other character, her formality in the absurd brings the house down. Set in Victorian England in both the city and the country, set designer Andrew Laine designed a brilliant set that  looks like an authentic aristocratic Victorian parlor, then magically becomes a place in the country. Watching this performance is truly an incredible experience.  Find out for yourself just what The Importance of Being Ernest is.  For more information or tickets, call 215-923-8909 or visit online at

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