THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
theSpace @ Venue 45 10.10 am
August 19th to 22nd.
⭐⭐⭐ (3 stars)
This is a play that many will be familiar with, but you will not have seen it done quite like this. Shakespeare Reloaded are an international theatre collective based in Berlin. They are committed to re-imagining classic plays with a bold and contemporary edge. Members of the company come from all over the world, from Brazil to Bulgaria, and the ensemble taken together speaks more than ten languages. They perform in English.
A very physical approach is taken to the action. Characters may be lifted and carried about almost as in a physical theatre show, and this adds to a sense of joyful abandon. I was told beforehand that the show boasted a short, fierce Hungarian Lady Bracknell, and she is indeed fiercely effective. There is some cross-gender casting, which adds to the almost carnival spirit. The strong accents of the players do have some effect on the catching of humorous implications in some lines, but the use of large and broad physical actions serves to underline meaning.
The company take great evident joy in the performance, and throw themselves into it lustily. Much fun is had with the language of bunburrying, and the play proceeds at a helter-skelter pace, though there are times when things seem rather rushed – maybe Fringe timetables were making the company feel a need for speed.
The company have come from a sell-out run in Berlin, and they had a large audience the time I saw them, which they deserved, and this was a very fresh, ebullient and joyful seventy minutes.