In Wilde’s 1895 comedy, prim-and-proper Jack Worthing is in love with the equally prim-and-proper Gwendolen Fairfax. His friend Algernon Moncrieff is in love with Cecily Cardew, Jack’s young ward. But both Gwendolen and Cecily are in love with a man called Ernest. Meanwhile, Gwendolen’s mother, the imposing Lady Bracknell, is extremely dubious about a story involving a handbag …
Though most critics welcomed Sheader’s attempt to shake up the Open Air’s usual summer proceedings, they disagreed how well Oscar Wilde works outdoors in the midst of Regent’s Park, particularly in Irina Brown’s interpretation, which many found overly stylised and lacking in humour. There was praise for many of the performances, most unanimously for Jo Herbert’s Gwendolen, and for yet another “pleasant evening in the park”
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