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Review Round-Ups

Does Suchet shine in The Importance of Being Earnest?

Adrian Noble's production opened at the Vaudeville last night

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David Suchet as Lady Bracknell
©Alastair Muir

Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

★★★

"David Suchet, gussied up in layers of purple and a ten-galleon hat, comes on like a posh drag act in a suburban rep, drops anchor centre stage, and offers a ferociously unfeminine display of squawks, squeaks and basilisk stares of critical inhumanity."

"It's a noisy and resolutely unfunny performance discharged with this great actor's ironclad technique."

"the play – released from the pressure of Suchet – finds its rhythm in the exchanges between Emily Barber's Gwendolen and Imogen Doel's superb, and superbly funny, Cecily"

Michael Billington, Guardian

★★★★

"As Lady Bracknell, Suchet does not so much enter a room as occupy it totally."

"The one blot on an excellent performance is Suchet's suggestion that Lady Bracknell's disclosure of her own arriviste origins is unwitting: gorgons of this stature don't make mistakes."

"the virtue of the production is that it presents us with real people rather than epigram-spouting puppets."

"this is a thoroughly enjoyable production and, at its centre, lies a superb performance by Suchet that reminds us that even Lady Bracknell contains a certain impishness beneath her elegantly frocked hauteur."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

★★★

"the bulk of the evening, directed by former RSC chief Adrian Noble, is as much a trial as poor Oscar's courtroom ordeals."

"Rather than over-emphasising his feminine side, or stooping to the crasser, panto-dame end of female-impersonation, Suchet locates the mannishness in this haughty, formidable creature."

"The big find of the night is Emily Barber as Lady Bracknell's daughter Gwendolen, the only member of the cast who seems to have stepped out of a bygone age – accent, attitude, timing and phrasing spot-on."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times

★★★★

"Bracknell's need to control is everything, and the brief moments when her power overwhelms her — at one moment she huffs and puffs, steps backwards and forwards, to become simultaneously matador and bull — are divine."

"His voice high, but not falsetto, contained yet combustible"

"Adrian Noble's production is sufficiently loaded with a sense of the need for love, beneath the characters' ultra-witty exteriors, that it can match this will-to-power drag act."

Mark Shenton, The Stage

★★★★

"Suchet channels Thatcher and Patricia Routledge as a drag Lady Bracknell, but this strong production adds up to more than gimmicky casting"

"Adrian Noble's strongly cast production digs below the play's own surfaces, particularly in Michelle Dotrice's lonely Miss Prism and the excitement she feels when Richard O'Callaghan's Chasuble makes an appearance."

Paul Taylor, Independent

★★★★

"David Suchet sweeps in with a bosom like the prow of a battleship and a glare that could paralyse a stampede of elephants in heat in Adrian Noble's highly entertaining production."

"Imogen Doel's modern-seeming dreamy teenager of a Cecily and Emily Barber's attitudinising, vulgarly posh Gwendolen strike very droll sparks off each other."

"Warmly recommended."

The Importance of Being Ernest runs at the Vaudeville theatre until 7 November 2015.

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