The Importance of Being Mrs Bartlett
I attended the glitzorama opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest on Tuesday, and spotted not only Coco from Fame in the row across from me, but sitting pretty in a box in the upper corner of my eye was none other than the living doll himself, Sir Cliff Richard. It was all a perfect ‘sleb-spotting setting for a Wildean drama about ridiculous social mores, though even the ripples Sir Cliff caused by his mere appearance were nothing compared to the tidal waves of anticipation for Lady Bracknell - a.k.a. Stockard Channing – to take the stage. Alas, as Peter Crawley put it in today’s Irish Times, “her aura precedes her, but in the flesh she seems muted, less acid, adequate in the role without relishing it”. While there were moments of particularly well-timed facial expressions, Channing did not command the stage as La Bracknell really ought to, her voice failing to project on a level with her fellow cast members, which was particularly irksome for those, unlike Sir Cilff and his ilk, seated in the cheaper seats. The two Rorys – Keenan and Nolan – acquitted themselves admirably as the competing Earnests of the title, but the real star of the show turned out to be Eleanor Methven, whose comic turn as Ms Prism brought fresh humour to even the most familiar lines. If anyone saw her in Strandline last year, in which she scared the living daylights out of me at least, they’d be staggered at the transformation. Highlights: Miss Prism, Merriman’s moment on rollerskates, and those delightful, head-swamping hats.