By Erin Pearce
Saturday evening my ten year old daughter and I, once again, attended a performance at The Empress; “The Importance of Being Earnest”. This was a play that I had never heard of and in trying to find out what it was about, I learned it was originally performed in London on Valentine’s Day in 1895. I learned that although it was written so long ago, its slapstick humor related to every time frame since and that it was much enjoyed by many, so we went on Saturday looking forward to seeing this production at one of our favorite venues.
The set at The Empress changes with every production and is one of my favorite things to take notice of. The set upon entering for this play was rather basic. The main stage had a couch and rug and some other furniture to depict a living room of sorts, and while it looked nice, I was surprised not to see more of the space included. In the past, the Executive Producer has introduced the performance and given any necessary information; turn off cell phones, bathroom exits, etc. This was noticeably missing at the last performance we attended at The Empress. This time around though, one of the actors came out in full character and gave out the instructions. It was really fun to have that portion of the evening tie into the play. I hope that is something The Empress keeps up!
The play began and we loved the British accents. Even my 10 year old commented on them. The story told was one of humor, two men leading double lives. Without giving away too much, their double lives eventually catch up with them and the result is hilariously entertaining! The information I had read in my quest to find out what the play was about, did not disappoint! Thank you Wikipedia! It was very funny and had me laughing throughout the play along with most of the audience. My daughter, however, did not understand much of it even though she enjoyed the play itself. We did have favorite performers that stood out. Cecily Cardew, played by Rebecca Waite, was hilarious above the rest. Her lines kept me laughing, her facial expressions were spot on and I just enjoyed her performance all around. Algernon Moncrieff, played by Jeff Erickson, was also hilarious. He seemed made for the part and was indeed funny though out.
This play was different from many I have seen in a few ways. Most I’ve been to have been musicals, this was not. This play also had very few actors and actresses, only nine total, not including the understudy. It was however, very funny and even without music and dancing, kept me entertained and interested in during the whole performance. It was quite enjoyable and one I would see again. My daughter however, did not understand the humor in it, most being geared towards adults. The play was appropriate in language and actions and suitable for children in that way, although because of the lack of music, may not be entertaining for children. It would make a great date night, for both single and married couples alike!
The Empress is a great venue, with all seats priced reasonably at $10 each. If you follow their Facebook page, or sign up for their texting program, they will often run specials on the ticket pricing. The concessions are some of the best priced anywhere, with a great selection. The Importance of Being Earnest runs through March 7th on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm. You can purchase tickets at the door or online at empresstheatre.com