The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ
Based on the play by Oscar Wilde
Years ago, a client of mine introduced me to the term “over-egging the pudding” which means unnecessarily adding richness to an already scrumptious treat. Or when it comes to writing, basically overdoing it.
This, I fear, is what “The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ,” a gender-bending rewrite of Oscar Wilde’s “trivial play for serious people” is guilty of. (Not that there’s anything wrong with anything LGBTQ, I hasten to add.)
Brief personal aside: I think “Earnest” is the funniest play in the English language. The film version with Edith Evans and Michael Redgrave is beyond compare. (Evans’ delivery of “Prism…where…is…that…baby?” can still make me choke with laughter.) The Roundabout Theater company did a production with Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell. (“Found?”)
You need actors with the intelligence and caliber of EE and BB to make Wilde’s farce work. And while the cast at Actors Temple try valiantly, unfortunately none but Michael Morley as Cecil (sex-changed from Cecily) make the grade.
There are a few guffaws along the way, however.
Lady Bracknell (Denise Turken) has been given two mean young men as courtiers, both of whom would feel right at home in this season’s “Gossip Girl.” And I giggled at the various changes in the script to reflect such modern phenomena as Grindr.
But candidly, as a friend pointed out, “Earnest” is already campy enough without overlaying yet another level of campiness as this production has done. All of which demonstrates the importance of not over-egging the pudding. Even with most earnest of intentions.