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March 25, 2009 > Theater Review: Wilde delights at Broadway West

Theater Review: Wilde delights at Broadway West

By Julie Grabowski

There are few certainties in the world, but the genius of Oscar Wilde must surely be one of them. His delicious wit and jaunty exploration of love, class, identity, and truth are an enduring treat loved worldwide. Broadway West wonderfully upholds the joys of Wilde with their production of his last and most popular play "The Importance of Being Earnest" running through April 18.

John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff are gentlemen of opposing temperaments but similar inventiveness in the organization of their personal lives. The imaginary creations of a wicked brother Earnest and forever ailing friend Bunbury have always served them well in the past, but when they intrude on the men's wooing of Gwendolen and Cecily, all becomes confusion. Add a disapproving mother and a 28-year mystery of parentage into the mix and suddenly the importance of being earnest is clear.

Director Bryan Freeman's intentions of a language-focused production are fully realized and thoroughly enjoyable. The set is simple and unobtrusive, consisting only of a few seats and tables, training your eye exclusively on the actors. Not that it is difficult to do. The cast is a tight weave of chemistry and adeptness, mastering the accent, language, delivery, and sheer delightfulness of the play.

Monica Cappuccini is a standout as the harsh, discriminating Lady Bracknell, commanding and capable with every word. Nick Kanios is equally engaging as the pleasure loving Algernon and possesses some of the best lines of the play, which he handles with sparkling ease. Magdalen "Rosie" Ricca captures the romantic and bubby Cecily Cardew with youthful charm, while John Rutski and Rachel Johnson are perfectly matched as determined lovers Worthing and Gwendolen. Kyle Smith, Sheila Ellam, and Joey Axiaq complete the cast with solid supporting roles.

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is pure enjoyment from beginning to end, an unarguably wonderful way to spend an evening.

General admission is $22, $17 for seniors, students, and TBA members, with Thursday performances $15 for everyone. Bargain seekers should make a note of April 16 when all tickets cost only $10. Sunday matinees and opening night are full price. March 29 and April 5 performances begin with a continental brunch at 12:15 p.m., and patrons of the April 12 performance will be treated to English tea, scones, and sandwiches at intermission. All refreshments are included in the ticket price. For tickets and more information call (510) 683-9218 or visit online at

The Importance of Being Earnest
March 20-April 18
Thursday - Saturday 8 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m.
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay Street, Fremont
(510) 683-9218

Tickets: $15-$22

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