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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC’s Theatre Arts Department performs an Oscar Wilde classic

The Channels Arts Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW
Second from the left, Jack Worthing (Ben Watkins) finds out that Algernon Moncrieff (August Woolf Muller, left) has shown up pretending to be his wicked brother Ernest Worthing. Jack had made up Ernest so he could go to the city anytime he wanted for days at a time.

With music playing and the stage set, the audience buzzed with excitement and anticipation waiting for the imaginary curtains to open on “The Importance of Being Earnest.” 

Written by Oscar Wilde, the story follows two young bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing (Ben Watkins) and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff (August Woolf Muller), as they lead double lives both pretending to be Ernest Worthing in order to win over the woman they love. 

The Theatre Group chose to put their own spin on the production and decided to have it set in the 1960s, but still held on to the social stigma of behaving outside of society’s standards.

The small intimate setting of the Jurkowitz Theatre gave way for an abrupt start as some of the actors rushed out to the stage and started dancing. However, they succeeded in grabbing the audience’s immediate attention in an entertaining manner.  

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The first act introduces you to Moncrieff and Worthing’s lives. Algy, as they so affectionately call him, is a pretentious man of the leisure class who is obsessed with food and thinks family is trivial. Jack, also known as Ernest, is quite the opposite, he is a serious man who sees the importance of family and finding love. 

Both actors deliver every line in such a manner that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more. 

As the storyline progresses we are introduced to more characters such as Miss Prism (Mary Wessely), Cecily Cardew (Grace Wilson), Rev. Canon Chasuble (Alfred Smith), Gwendolen Fairfax (Sydney Davidson) and Lady Bracknell (Lexie Brent). 

All these characters play a key role in uncovering the lies and deception the two bachelors have partaken in. 

Luke Hamilton who played Merriman the butler and Matt Addeman who played Lane the pessimistic manservant did a great job at taking what could have been a very plain role and turned themselves into the comedic help with funny facial expressions and gestures. 

In between scene changes, the stage crew, along with Hamilton and Addeman would keep the audience entertained and engaged by dancing while moving around the props. 

While the play may glorify lying, there is no lack of entertainment from the hilarious commentary on the out-of-touch and frivolous high society folks, to the witty one liners about how trivial family is and the tortures that come with being married. 

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will be shown through November 19 at the Jurkowitz Theatre. 

Due to the layout of the theater, no late seating is permitted. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.


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