Get thee to the theatre one and all! For the first time in 17 months, I sat with other human beings as the lights came up on a stage filled with actors. It was opening weekend of YST’s production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. What a delight it was to be carried away to the deliciously sardonic banter of Wilde’s fin de siècle takedown of Victorian social posturing…and how oddly relevant it felt! Controversial in his time, Wilde was known for taking the you know what out of the upper class by the brilliance of his farcical satires of courtship and mistaken identities among highly superficial folks.
Director Jack Bennett delivers a lively and lighthearted production that is rich with veteran actors who bring the play’s wit to glorious heights, none more so than the divine Tamarah Ashton as Lady Bracknell, commanding attention with every facial contortion and acerbic turn of phrase. Adam Langsam is perfectly droll as the mischevious Algernon Moncreiff and plays terrifically with Austin Hall’s dashing John Worthing. Hall is a natural playing perfect outrage at Algernon’s ludicrous behavior and ideas. YST resident member, Veronica Koutsky, as Cecily Cardew, is just the right amount of silly and petulant that contrasts with the over the top haughtiness of Roza Zemla’s Gwendolen Fairfax. Both actresses have a ball one upping the indignation in their scene of the ultimate misunderstanding and suspicion.
Rounding out the cast is the lovely Georgan George delivering a sweetly flirtatious Miss Prism, John Farley as a hilarious Dr. Chasuble, and the hysterical physical comedy of Connor Chaney and Christopher Girt as two very funny butlers.
I was also able to view their livestream which is a really nice way to transport yourself into the Fremont Centre Theatre if you’re unable to go in person. The livestream is a high quality, four camera affair with nice close-ups and great sound. It’s delightful fun for the whole family and a wonderful way to support theatre and this community theatre for youth.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is produced by Gloria Bennett for Young Stars Theatre and runs through September 24, both in-person and livestreamed at Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena. Tickets and information at www.YoungStarsTheatre.org