VOL. 24 - NO. 20
MAY 12 - 19, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: “The Importance of Being Earnest” Takes a New ‘1960s London Mod’ Look

Dec 07, 2018
by Kent Clancy
Breaking from their tradition of producing Shakespeare, the Ninjas of Drama “Go Wilde” with their ”1960’s London Mod” take on the ever-popular Oscar Wilde circa 1895 comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” currently running through December 16, with performances Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Phoenix Theatre (414 Mason Street, Suite 601) in San Francisco.

The story is one of aliases and the confusion they cause, until love wins out in the end. Algernon Moncrieff (Lijesh Krishnan) and Earnest Worthing (Federico Edwards) are friends. During a visit with Algernon, Earnest confesses to Algernon that his real name is Jack, but he has a fictional brother named Earnest who, according to Jack, is always getting in trouble. Jack is the guardian of a lovely young lady named Cecily (Adrienne Dolan). Jack has invented Earnest so he will “need” to go to the city regularly to get him out of trouble.

Algernon confesses that he also has a fictional friend, named Banbury, who is crippled. Algernon frequently “needs” to go the country to spend time with Banbury.

Also visiting Algernon is his charming cousin Gwendolyn (Chelsea Jenningss) and her mother, Lady Bracknell (Greg Gutting). When Gwendolyn arrives she is greeted by Cecily, and the two talk about the men they want to marry.

From that point on confusion is everywhere, until at last all is straightened out. Eventually Cecily and Gwendolyn learn the true names of the men they love, but not until after Lady Bracknell refuses to approve of Gwendolyn’s marriage, only to later relent, and all ends happily.

While the play is well over a century old this ‘mod’ version is directed by Rey Carolino. Fitting with the updated theme, the costuming for this production is more modern, and there is even original music written specifically for this production. The very talented cast includes the aforementioned along with Irina Dianova (as Miss Prism), David Richardson (as Reverend Chasuble), and Pam Mangan as Lane, Merriman).

The Phoenix Theatre is an intimate venue, with a capacity of about 40 patrons, and the audience members are just a few feet from the actors on stage.

For tickets or more information please visit www.phoenixtheatresf.org or phone 888-541-9753.

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Photo caption: Left to right: Federico Edwards, Chelsea Jennings, Adrienne Dolan, Lijesh Krishnan. (Photo credit: Rey Carolino)


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