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Theater review: 'The Importance of Being Earnest' is presented with wonderful wit

It’s no secret that one of the newest community theaters in Oklahoma City is off to a brilliant start. Every production from 3rd Act Theatre is an example of excellence and “The Importance of Being Earnest” is an incredibly fun show.

Directed by Jamie Brewster, this classic from Oscar Wilde bridges three centuries of amusingly disarming wit. The retro-futuristic aspect that is “Steampunk” and typical Victorian ludicrous farce are a wonderful blend. None of Wilde’s humor is altered, yet it’s enhanced with a twist.

One thing about presenting such a show is in the casting, and Brewster’s excellent direction and casting is perfection. Don Taylor is brilliantly funny as Lady Bracknell. David Mays is impressive as John (Jack/Ernest) Worthing and Justice Wickstrom is impeccable as Algernon Moncrieff. Both are impertinent.

Holly McNatt is the sophisticated Gwendoline Fairfax and Rosemary Orwig Rodgers is the lovely wide-eyed Cecily Cardew. The interplay between these "two sweet young things" is marvelous to watch. David Fletcher-Hall is delightfully elastic in the role of The Rev. Canon Chasuble. Chris Harris plays Miss Prism with perfectly dotty flair. Harris and Fletcher-Hall make an outstanding pair with flawless comic timing. James Tyra is the epitome of droll as the ideal robotic butler, Lane. Joe Burleigh is disrespectful as Merriman.

Wilde’s wit as a playwright is exhibited by Brewster’s superb direction especially augmented by Dakota Lee Bryant’s costuming.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is presented by 3rd Act Theatre at Northpark Mall, 12040 N May Ave., through Feb. 23. Curtain is 8 p.m. weekends, with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. For more information, go to www.3rdActTheatre.com.

— Elizabeth Hurd, for The Oklahoman

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