Split Second Productions' The Importance of Being Earnest review

Two actors, seven characters and one incredible show – Split Second Productions breathed new life into Oscar Wilde's comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, complete with farce, fisticuffs and fabulous frocks.

In a nutshell

A refreshing revival of Oscar Wilde's farcical favourite, The Importance of Being Earnest, Split Second Productions' tiny but talented cast of two is outstanding, with Berkeley Castle providing a backdrop as brilliant as the show itself.


The review

Setting the scene

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Walking into Berkeley Castle’s Great Hall, the scene was well and truly set for a first-class show – in every sense of the word – with chaise longue, dainty cucumber sandwiches, a large bottle of champagne, and backdrop of classical music.

A comedy that involves characters living double lives, Split Second Productions’ cast of two, Alex Hooper and Jack Coleby, surely had a difficult task ahead of them, playing an incredible four characters each. But whether it was gender switching, changing accents or sharing the role of the formidable Lady Bracknell, the flawless pair rose to the task.

The well-known story follows best friends Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing, both of whom have alternative personalities to suit their needs; Bunbury in the country and Earnest in the city, respectively. And thus, the confusion, comedy and character changes begin.

Offering an ingenious twist on a classic, the lightening-quick changes enhanced the play’s natural comedy, with both actors switching between idle gentlemen, dominating mother and prancing ladies, perfectly – as reflected in the audience’s continuous laughter.


How they laughed

 The Importance of Being Earnest

A satirical comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest encompasses farce, mistaken identities and convoluted lies, offering all the ingredients for a laugh-out-loud show – and Split Second Productions did justice to Oscar Wilde’s hilarious story.

A personal highlight was Alex Hooper’s gloriously feminine portrayal of Cecily Cardew; flouncing around and adopting facial expressions that were just perfect, the persona got some of the loudest laughs of the night.

Meanwhile the duo’s shared role of Lady Bracknell was a brilliant idea, complementing the farcical comedy of the story and breaking down the fourth wall with the audience.


A dynamic duo

 The Importance of Being Earnest

 The Importance of Being Earnest

Interacting as best friends, rival women fighting over the ‘same man’, and prospective suitor facing his mother-in-law to be, both actors were simply brilliant.

Full of silliness, quick wit and physical comedy, the show incorporated simple but effective means to make the audience laugh; a fight over an English muffin was delightfully trivial, as was Algernon’s craving for cucumber sandwiches.

Aside from their comic prowess, the two actors showcased their talent from the first cup of tea to the final embrace, delivering all the laughs you’d expect from Oscar Wilde’s story, but with an exciting new twist.


SoGlos loves

The magnificent setting of Berkeley Castle complemented Oscar Wilde’s comedy to perfection; a gloriously grand setting for a quintesentially British story about high society. And with other local venues including Blackfriars Priory, Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Westonbirt House, audiences are in for a treat wherever they see the show.


Top tip

Whether you’re familiar with the story or not, Split Second Productions’ performance promises to make you smile; prepare for laughter, confusion and the lasting question of whether it’s that important to be ‘Earnest’…


What next?

For more information, see The Importance of Being Earnest or visit splitsecondproductions.com directly.

© SoGlos
Friday 04 May 2018

More reviews you might like...

Here’s what SoGlos thought of the Cotswold hotel and restaurant.

The Bear of Rodborough review

With the last of the summer still in the air, SoGlos headed to The Bear of Rodborough Hotel for lunch, discovering that it’s...

The bare cheek of it! The Full Monty aroused a standing ovation at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, where it opened the 2018-2019 national tour.

Review: The Full Monty Last Tour at the Everyman Theatre

Did The Full Monty go the FULL monty, did Gary Lucy live up to expectations, and is it true the tour might return to Cheltenham?...

The SoGlos girls went to prove golf isn’t just for men.

Brickhampton Court Golf Complex pro-lesson review

With just a few games of adventure golf under our belt, the SoGlos girls headed to Brickhampton Court Golf Complex for a lesson...

SoGlos visited Malmaison’s Chez Mal Brasserie to try out the set summer menu.

Chez Mal Brasserie review

Delivering on style and substance, Chez Mal Brasserie offers a great drinking and dining experience in Cheltenham; expect a...

Intergalatic, active fun awaits at Lunar City at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester.

Lunar City at GL1 Leisure Centre review

The SoGlos team rounded-up the kids and blasted off to Lunar City at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester, to discover if the inflatable...

Unmissable highlights